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By Joseph Dempsey poteau

Sunday, January 13, 2008

"This road looks cool," I surmised. "I've never put a tire on it and it is headed in the general direction of where I want to light when the sun goes down." I was east of Spiro, Oklahoma. It was a good gamble. I found a huge crumpling barn with boards askew and pieces of roof missing. That's a good thing. It lets the sky show through with bits and pieces of azure, and fluffy clouds. Having shot the barn, I lit the fire in my thirsty, well-worn Chevy pickup and proceeded east again, with the nagging question, "Will my luck hold?"

The mystery was shortly solved. When what to my wondering eyes should appear, the Poteau River. This is in the neighborhood of the Backbone Mountain Range, which runs roughly east and west in eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas. You see above what I saw when I stopped on the bridge.

In its placid mode the river was mirror slick, disturbed only by an occasional marine critter taking a swipe at a floating snack. I had the bridge to myself. It was visual poetry. Not a beer can, bait box, Cheetos bag, or chunk of jettisoned styrofoam in sight. You could hear the quiet. When I finally came to and moved the truck, the vision of the image was beginning to jell in my little pea brain.

After thirty or so shots, I sat on the edge of the bridge and began to consider the isolated moment. It is early October and the river is on its best behavior. In March, April and probably May, there's no doubt it manifests its naughtiness, yea verily, the dark side of nature's bipolar swings. (Remember when it was called manic-depressive?) Then it will become a violent, raging, twisting, churning, eddy-laden death trap for the fool or critter who dares to enter its turbid current.

But even in the cappuccino tinged death swirls,
there is awesome beauty.

It is unbridled, raw power which demands a healthy respect. Nature is like that. It does not give a tinker's damn if we see it or don't, or if we like it or not. But the mother's siren song beckons us to take our seats and observe. You gotta love it.

What I saw was the third movement in the annual Poteau symphony. The one without the tympani rolls. I applauded, thanked the Almighty, and hauled-ass toward Arkansas with a smile on my bewhiskered face. It's not every day you get a private performance like that. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

N O T E :  
If you care to see the black and white version of this image, click here:
Nikon D200 on ball head topped tripod, Nikon f3.5 - 56 18-50mm
G Zoom, post processed in Photoshop CS3 and Photomatix HDR

Click the jump wings
to see the previous Photo of the Week. . . .

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