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corvi
corivax
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October 2008
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corvi [userpic]
the trick of the second bridge

This weekend, gfish, shadowblue, and I are going on a three-day canoeing trip along the Columbia river. These pictures are from one of our practice trips.



Previous Green River pictures here. We started in the same places as before, but canoed an extra several miles, into more industrial areas.


They had put a sign next to the yellow fiber-optic that said, "THIS LINE CONTAINS NO SALVAGABLE COPPER". What, were they expecting a canoe full of crazed urban blacksmiths, collecting scrap metal as they went?

... wait, never mind.


The first bridge is made of metal and rust and moss and a deep clear note like a struck anvil, a thing of shadows and graceful squares. The trick here is the second bridge, laid vertically through the first, a thing of space and light. It was sunny, unusual, and when you leaned over the canoe and looked down you could see the bright ripple lines fanning out around your shadow's head, light caught in water. The corona would converge, at the shadow of your eyes, if your shadow wasn't in the way.


This is the bridge where the owls wait and dream of night. The canoe on the water is a knife of shadow against their pillars, and the owls call to the shade as it passes over them. They have half-real voices, like ghosts, and it seems to get quieter when they speak.


After a while the river flows through Boeing's territory. Along the shores rusty cable is tangled like vines, and there are half-finished cockpits, sleek and awkward as penguins, along the docks. There is a long, low machine shop, set on a reinforced creosote-scented pier. The wierdly thick pillars and crossbraces make a strange music when the water moves around them, echoes and overtones.

We peered in at the shop, at polished cabinets full of strange tools. It smells like metal and oil and cutting fluid. It's a good thing nobody makes a perfume like that; I could be seduced in a heartbeat. :)


Refineries have a sort of fairy-tale aspect, all this open superstructure with lights at every joint, towers of air and light. At some point you start to wonder about whether it's getting too dark to find a place to pull out of the water. Especially if, say, the last eight miles of the trip have been upriver because you had no idea the tide came in this far, and you have to paddle very hard not to be swept away backwards. Ooops.


Still in the shadow of the second bridge.


I am pleased to announce that we did, in fact, find out car just before true darkness. Ow. I am also please to announce let's never do that again, thanks. :)

Comments

"It smells like metal and oil and cutting fluid. It's a good thing nobody makes a perfume like that; I could be seduced in a heartbeat."

Demeter Fragrance or Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs (or a judicious blending of fragrances from the two) could probably come up with something like this. You could definitely get the oil scent and a metallic tang (like blood) - I think the tricky note would be the cutting fluid. Conversely, have the object of interest spend time in their forge to soak up that smell of metal particles, fire, and polishing fluids, with the undercurrent of welding leathers and sweat. Bottle up the scent and call it Hephaestus.

I really like the sixth picture, especailly in relation to fairy tales. Set in the twilight and out of focus it could very well be a place that is between the real world and the dream world, where fairie courts dance to wild and inhuman music, twisting through the metallic bones of old industrial structures.

Please do not give random people reading my livejournal tips on how to seduce me! :)

Demeter and BPAL sound interesting, but I've never actually gotten to smell them, and I'm not really the sort to wear fragrances myself.

Why not? Do you not enjoy being artfully seduced?

Kathryn is a big Demeter & BPAL fan, and I've become completely enamoured of the BPAL Dorian scent. Next time you see her or if we meet, you could smell us and get an inkling of their wares. Granted, I wear vanillas and the closest thing she might wear is a leather-rose mixture, so you'd still be short of the industrial-forge-meatal fabrication experience.

Hmmm. Challenge. I'll have to join my sith powers with hers to see what we can mix up.

> Why not? Do you not enjoy being artfully seduced?

Technically speaking, no, but that's not a barrier to silly livejournal-comment banter. :)

I can't figure out what's going on in this user icon, though. Dare I ask?

*note to self: Corivaxes newly of our acquaintance prefer not to be seduced*

User pic: If you dare to ask depends on how squeamish you are. Read on if you'd like to know.


I'd just had a scarification piece cut into my left forearm and smeared a deal of the blood on my face, as well as just let it pour down my arm. I had it recut later but the scar is very, very light - I know it's there, but most people wouldn't notice it. People generally assume the blood in the icon is fake, so it doesn't generally put anyone off when I use it.

Wow, cool! You must show me if we ever meet in person!

I always love reading posts like this from you. Even without the pictures, your writing paints beautiful images in my mind. I hope you have a wonderful trip.

Will you be camping out along the way?

Yeah, we'll be camping in one real campground, and then whatever random areas we can find that don't look too inhospitable. :)

The excitement will be in-tents (sorry *slaps wrist*).

sounds like a fun trip :)

nifty photos! low sun on the water always looks good. :)

not-so-random-question:

Is the water warm enough where you live to go on a river without a drysuit, or at the very least a wetsuit?

Yes, very much so. I plan to go on (and in) the water in a pair of swimtrunks. :)

It does vary some by where the water comes from - closer to the mountains there are lots of glacier-fed streams that I would be a lot more careful in, but the Columbia is huge and flat and graceful and nearly to the sea by the time we get there.

Swimtrunks? Fun! Hope you bring along plenty of sunscreen, then, as that seems a sort of trip to make aching muscles and reddened skin, full cameras and tired-happy grins.

On "this line contains no salvageable copper" - it's not so much aimed at canoeing urban blacksmiths as it is at scavengers of the sort that railroads have had a problem with (pulling down the old telegraph wires and pulling up the signalling wires to strip out the copper and sell it.)

It's the wiring equivalent to "Driver carries less than $20"

I have always been amused by a (possibly untrue) story I heard while I was learning to make obsidian blades by glassknapping, that when they started putting up telegraph poles across the Australian interior, they had a problem with the glass insulators mysteriously disappearing. The insulators are cheap, but the lines broke down a lot more quickly without them. Eventually they discovered that the aboriginies were scaling the poles and stealing them because they were easy to work and made good glass tools. The solution was just to put a box of extra insulators at the base of every twentieth pole or so. The aboriginies, being a nomadic people, would only take one or two at a time, and leave the ones atop the poles alone, so a box would last for years.

I'm always watching for plate glass from demolished buildings, which makes interesting and lovely knives.

Have you ever had a chance to play with them?

They do look lovely, but I tend to file it under "paperweight."

I haven't! Where did you get yours? Do you have any extra?

Ebay almost always has them available - personally, mine came at a random trip through a junk store, with a "Oh, that looks spiffy!", but I have a friend who collects antique bottles, and regularly runs across the insulators on ebay and collector auction sites.

A quick run via froogle through ebay produced "glass insulators" ranging from $5 to max $40 - Unfortuantely, I don't want to spend any time on ebay itself at work, so I can't give you more info on what the average is.

Hee. If you find a mispelled, misplaced, or not-really-bid-on auction, bet there can be more fun things to do at the next smelting party, or even before then!


As for plate glass from windows, I know nothing, but ask curiously - how large a knife do you generally make from such a thing? Wouldn't they be quite brittle? Though, come to think of it, I've never seen obsian knapped beyond arrowheads similar to the flint ones I know. So I know very little.

Ooooo.

Envious, nostalgic, struck by the industrial sunsets...

I hope you have a good time. I suppose there's no way you couldn't, though.

There's no reason you could't come along on our next daytrip. I don't know how many more there will be this year; the big reason we've done so many is practice for the Columbia trip, but I'll keep you in mind if we do another.