Tuesday, June 23, 2015

"Oh Shenandoah." (Harmonica by Paul Hall of paulhallart.)

An old American folk song and sea shanty, believed to have originated in Shenandoah Valley area where parts for covered wagons were made and assembled in Pennsylvania and river ways provided pioneers with transport for the first leg of the journey west from the Shenandoah River to the Missouri River. Of course, it was Native American lingo for "daughter of stars" in some areas whereas in one case it was the Native American name for chief Forrest Deer (Iroquois).

The song developed and because it was often performed on the water ways, it made its way all the way down the Mississippi to New Orleans where it rapidly became popular with American sailors aboard the then state-of-the-art "clipper" ships, the ultimate sailing vessel, as it were, which plied the seven seas to all destinations of trade thence.

I thought of using the visual of my third "White Pass" digital series, because of the majestic coincidence of the music and the mountains. These mountains are icebergs of granite floating on molten seas of basalt. The entire area is subject to incessant micro-earthquakes as it is constantly on the move, not only because of the subduction of the plates in the ring of fire, but also because of glacial rebound. In areas where the glaciers are now gone, the depression they caused in the earth rebounds, but at geologic speed; extremely slowly.

The pictures are of The Upper White Pass area with the noteworthy Moore Suspension Bridge, a "single span" bridge, necessary because the structure is built on an active fault line. The span is on the more stable side. There's "Bridal Falls" whose water is potable; drinkable. Then further along we enter the Canadian section and the plateau called "Tormented Valley" where the trees are dwarfed because of the shallow soil on bedrock scraped out by the enormous one-time mile-high glacier of the ice age.

The harmonica was recorded in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, in a hotel room where the view from the bathroom window, I had prophetically done 3 paintings of 40 years earlier. So this was a landmark video.

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