Sunday, January 31, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil, or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year, including during the growing season. Water saturation largely determines how the soil develops and the types of plant and animal communities living in and on the soil. Wetlands may support both aquatic and terrestrial species. The prolonged presence of water creates conditions that favor the growth of specially adapted plants and promote the development of characteristic wetlands soils.
Grazing by nutria and beaver can also change vegetation patterns. Pollen and other plant remains from cores of marsh soil can be analyzed to map the history of marsh formation and spatial change in vegetation and soil. Dead trees can be seen in the marsh. These trees show that water level has increased with time and the trees became inundated during their growing season and died.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
During the freak storm of two weeks ago, high waves did so much damage at Beaver Creek that the normal channel became clogged with debris and sand. The creek could not empty into the ocean as usual with the result that its waters backed up inland. The road was soon covered with water and the mill-pond of the C and H Lumber Company over flowed. The mill was forced to shut down and the cars of people living up the Creek had to be towed in and out by the company trucks. Finally road conditions got so bad that not even these could get through. Dynamiting to open the channel was the only solution and this the company proceeded to do. A few hours later, the creek had found its bed nearly 3 feet below the level of the sand deposited by the high water. Everyone in the vicinity is grateful to the lumber company and the State and County workers who spared neither time nor energy in this emergency.
Conditions at the mouth of Beaver Creek have been such that ocean swells and tides have prevented the natural flow of the stream. This has resulted in the annual flooding of many acres of good farm land; as well as the formation of a permanent swamp. Beneath this swamp lies about a thousand acres of peat soil which can be surpassed no where as far as fertility and productiveness is concerned.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
“Claude Levi-Strauss, the well-known 20th century anthropologist and author of The Strange Mind, wrote about the human process of naming places and features in the natural world as a way to create order, or ‘domesticate‘ the wild. Anthropologist Keith Basso’s study of the named locales of the Western Apache revealed that giving names to places marked them as ‘place-worlds,‘ places invested with memory and emotional significance. Naming is a way to metaphorically inscribe meaning onto the landscape.”
The “Beach Highway” was used until the completion of the Roosevelt Highway (now Highway 101) in the 1930’s. Makes me appreciate the bridges and pavement and engineering feats that were required to build that road. And to be able to travel inside a warm, dry car in the foulest of winter weather!
Friday, January 22, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Before putting this blog together, Michael and I had many discussions about “space” and “sense of place” and other related themes we had run across. When applying some of these terms to Beaver Creek Marsh, I think of how residents and visitors alike respond to this place and speak of it longingly. As one spends a little time here, the shedding of worries and busyness and tension visibly relaxes a person, allowing a space, a rest stop, a “breather.” Those who live near here pass through and enjoy it every day. Others seek it out recreationally for weekend bike rides, hikes, kayaking, birding, and other activities.
My brother, Erik, comes to visit from crowded, fast-paced, urban areas. Even though we try to stay up late talking to maximize the (usually) short time we have together, he gets overcome with sleep. There are no street lights, so the nights get very dark. If we are lucky to have a clear sky, we can see the light of the moon and stars. It is quiet and calm. The house is well-insulated from the damp and cool, sometimes stormy weather, but the thuds and rumbles of the ocean waves still penetrate the walls. We are one-half mile from the beach, and still the sound can be loud enough to vibrate the glass in the windows.
Being between ocean and marsh makes for an interesting mix of flora and fauna. Something different is happening every day. New sights and sounds and smells.
I am reminded of an autobiography of a British woman who grew up in India called, “A Time to Dance, No Time to Weep,” by Rumer Godden. She describes “taking darshan”:
“Indians have a custom of taking ‘darshan’ which means, with a temple, a palace, a holy cave or a renowned view such as the sight of the Himalayan snow peaks, Everest or Kanchenjunga, or a notable person--for instance Gandhi or the President--they will travel miles, make pilgrimages simply to take ‘darshan’ of that person or place, not trying to make contact or speak--certainly not taking photographs as we do--but, simply by looking, to let a little of the personality, sainthood, holiness or beauty, come into their souls. They go away, usually without speaking and so keep it for the rest of their lives. Innately, from the time we were children, we had done the same thing; it was perhaps our deepest delight.”
A visit to Beaver Creek Marsh is one such place to experience in that way.
Posted by jackie.