I sing of a River dammed, dumped, pumped and diverted I sing of a River they almost murdered. I sing of a River the people forgot, I sing of a River that flows from the rocks… I sing of a River rushing from Mountain slopes, snowmelt below Mt. Wilson, the mouth of the Arroyo. I sing of a River where the shifting bottom of soft sedimentary sandstones and clay mixes with gravel washed from seasonal runoff. I sing of a River less celebrated than world waters, still powerful enough to wash away a village. I sing of a River that switched beds, underground moisture in the watershed. I sing of a River where much of the water never reached the sea – forming marshes, lagoons and mud flats. I sing of a River with a huge underground reservoir beneath the San Fernando Valley, I sing of the River that built this city. I sing of a River that provided life for the Tongva Tribe. Later to be called Gabrielinos, they lived amidst the willows, edible berries and sycamore trees. I sing of a River where steelhead were hunted by grizzlies. I sing of a River with an archipelago of birds, insects and tiny green particles, foam bubbles, towering power lines, cottonwood trees, tadpoles and morning frogs. I sing of a River where pelican’s songs echo off canyon walls. I sing of a River unknown to many, perhaps first seen in Grease or The Terminator, I sing of a River that’s always been here. I sing of a River with tributaries, like the Rio Hondo. I sing of a River with a confluence in the Arroyo Seco. I sing of a river weaving through crossroads of freight rails and intersecting freeways. I sing of a river below Metrolink and Gold Line trains. I sing of a River with a bevy of bridges. Merrill Butler built iconic bridges in the City Beautiful tradition. I sing of a River where 44 pobladores established the pueblo of Los Angeles in 1781 at the Confluence in the name of Spain and King Carlos the Third. I sing of a river that was here long before sig alerts. I sing of a river before concrete, squatter camps and floating cans of beer. I sing of a River paved in concrete by the Army Corp of Engineers. I sing of a River resurrected one pocket park at a time. Blades of grass breaking concrete, riparian wetlands in the Compton Creek, Oleanders in Atwater, re-instate the native garden Lewis MacAdams founded the Friends of the Los Angeles River with the power of the word. Like John Kinsella says, “Poems can stop bulldozers.” I sing of a River where wetlands and washes once dominated witness the return of the watershed.
California, Los Angeles, River, Scene, Urban, Watercolor, Original Watercolor, Landscape Watercolor