Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Friday, December 14, 2007

#3 Bog in Double Oscillation


The main trail down to what is known as "Plunge Pool," is off the beaten path but not unknown. It descends from the ancient road alongside a creek and then runs along the eastern side of Plunge Pool across from the deepest plunge and the previously mentioned lookout. Where the pool is cinched in, like a woman's waist, our trail climbs a steep hill amid Mountain Laurel and then abruptly forks. To casual appearance the left fork, afte dropping again steeply, dead ends, so most people go right. What appears a dead end is actually the entrance to the inner sanctum. Cross the gully on the conveniently "fallen" log and we''ve reached the bottom edge of Plunge Pool and our new trail.

Most people never realize there are, in fact, five Plunge Pools here. Without quite realizing it we are crossing an earthen dam; there is water to our left and, just a few feet lower, also on our right. Whether men reinforced the work of beavers or beavers the work of men, both have practiced engineering here. Having crossed the dam the traveler needs faith. Just plunge in at the most likely spot where the brush is thinnest and the outlet from the upper pool is most rock-studded. Somewhere on the other side is our trail. Now, mostly sealed off from the upper pool, we have reached the three tiny pools that descend like a staircase through a narrow ravine. Later in the summer the outer, official pool will be a garden of water lilies, but these three inner pools will then be mostly algae. Right now they are clear. The water in this new pool moves slowly amid fallen trees and ancient boulders and then stops. There is no visible outlet, just another dam. Somewhere beneath, the water penetrates to the next pool, and so it goes.

There are shots to be taken in all 3 of these pools. Every day I went back for more, arriving around 2:30 and shooting until the last of the light fell behind the cliff around 4 PM. As I reviewed my daily images, I was eager to post some of them online. However, back then I was still building sites whole, and didn't want to devote photo time to publishing. It was a big job. Then, as I was thinking about making audio tapes of the frogs, my lens was lured somewhere new, and I stopped going to Plunge Pool.

This fall, in thinking about what to exhibit at Camera's Eye, I chose to use the series of Plunge Pool Reflections as the core of that exhibit. It was the first time I had printed any of the images.