I went down to the flood-stage White River yesterday morning to sketch the ice jam, which had backed up miles of the river and was making the flooding worse. Here is what it looked like just as the river suddenly started moving again, as I grabbed my camera and ran to the bridge. There was an incredible energy — the gong-boom of ice whamming into the bridge pillars, a frozen landslide of trees (some beaver-felled, some storm-broken) and fence posts and dollops of fresh soil on top of the ice (eroded from undercut riverbanks, I suppose) stirred in with all the broken ice. One minute it was stuck, the next it was UNSTUCK. Like that corked-up feeling you get when you can’t remember someone’s name ——– then *gush* and suddenly everything comes sliding back to you in a rush, every detail and nuance of your last encounter, not just their name but their mother’s name and their neighbors’ names, the course you took together, the hobbies and politics of everyone you ever met through them, all their favorite poems and whether they liked wool sweaters and road trips — everything, all of it, sliding downstream in your brain, in grind-creaking technicolor. I’m saying that river just had a bad case of writer’s block!
PS: I just noticed another video posted by someone else who stopped on the same bridge, two days earlier, just before the river became totally log-jammed with ice. In this image, you can see there is a lot of water and ice, but everything was still moving.