It’s hard to decide sometimes, which way to go. Stay on this side or go across the bridge. Turn upstream or down. These are the options. One today, a different one tomorrow. It’s all about the same, the main difference being that the parkway is wider in some places than others. So usually more birds, more paths, fewer encounters with people. More to see, but if I go too often things withdraw from my sight.
This description is true only on a superficial level. A search for novelty is not the point. Even taking photographs is not the point. What is stunning about the river and will always remain so, to me, is the way it exists. The way I can never take hold of it, never see it in its entirety. And yet it is always there. The river has been there for millions of years. It was there long before humans first evolved. Not simply before us but beyond, outside of us and anything we mean by “time”. And now it speaks to me, it invites me in.
I’m not sure what exactly that means, what “in” is. This is what I’m trying to understand. It’s not a human thing. But the river helps me, and each time I go there I come a little closer to knowing. This is my real project. Not thinking about the river or making pictures of it, but learning how to inhabit a different world.
That world appears no different than this one, the realm of familiar things and causal relations. But it does more than appear. Its everydayness is its face, but not its entirety. It also reaches into and draws together the deep past and the deep future. Like the river, like the Sierras, its existence is both here and now and extended in space and time. And I am trying to make that extended world my home, to think and feel all of it as my world, the field in which I live.