Does Your River Run This Clear?

iPhone 6s Plus video, about 40 seconds. Be sure to bump it up to 720p!

Behold the Rio Grande deep inside its canyon! I shot this video a couple of weeks ago at the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument a few miles north of Pilar, where Native hunters used to camp. I love that I can learn these things and see the ground right there. The thing about the West is that it’s so huge, it hasn’t all been physically altered by development. One can actually find these places where the present and the past are side-by-side, sharing the same space.

Back in Maryland where we used to live, a utility company on the Eastern Shore accidentally dug up a several thousand-year-old burial site, complete with stone tools and copper jewelry. Everyone was amazed and mystified: it was as if the ancient chief or shaman had fallen down from outer space. There was a picture in the paper, and then we all forgot about it. No one is to blame here, it’s just how humans are.

I had a friend there, now deceased, who understood the history quite well, however. He knew where to look along the tidal rivers and recovered many artifacts whenever unusually low tides revealed old sandbars, oyster middens, and the like. I made rubber molds of some of them, including arrowheads, a broken axe head, and something called a banner stone, so I could make wax copies and eventually cast these things in bronze. I still have most of them, because they never sold!

  • Peter November 17, 2016, 2:18 AM

    Looks like a nice spot to take a breather. Pretty incredible video quality for a Cell Phone. Phone tech has certainly come a long way and I hear the iPhone 7 quality is even better.
    Best regards,
    Peter

    • JHF November 17, 2016, 8:47 AM

      Recorded at next to lowest setting, 1080p HD at 30 fps with optical image stabilization on iPhone 6s Plus to try videos on Twitter. Downgraded to 720 p for fast upload to YouTube, but I’m going to fix that next time. The camera also records at 60 fps and 4K video at 30 fps, so you’re not seeing anything like what this is capable of yet.

  • Anne November 17, 2016, 7:45 AM

    Beautiful…that’s the thing about the west..it is so open and wide and untouched in some ways like the industrial east.
    Let’s see some photos of those objects you cast.

    • JHF November 17, 2016, 8:53 AM

      I’ve posted a bunch of those on Twitter as well as at this blog. I’ll show more soon, however, maybe as a show-and-tell video. Hardly any place is totally untouched, but it sure seems that way in northern NM. This is why I had to leave the East. A question of what’s most important to me. Time was ticking away. It was rough—still is, dammit—but we are here.

  • Joe November 18, 2016, 9:35 AM

    That video was so real it made me thirsty. I wish I could stand in that spot and cast a fly.

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