The great conveyors and rock smashers along the San Gabriel River have been going full bore for at least a few months now, and the mountain at the mouth of Fish Canyon has been slowly receding, eaten away to satisfy a gnawing hunger. Before today I never noticed the different sounds each of those rock smashers makes; those furthest up canyon, closest to the "diggin's", suffer quite a beating, the stones falling off the conveyor into their maws and gnashing teeth are the full sized ones. They make a hell of a sound as they bang and boom off the walls of the crusher. By the time the stones reach the machines further down the line they have been split, fractured, and spit out multiple times - they no resemblance to what was dug out of the mountainside. The sounds they make as they drop off the conveyor are greatly diminished, they are still loud, but far less forceful. Another couple sections of conveyor down the line, and I suspect they become pulverized enough to be dropped into the bin of some truck and carted off for one or another construction use.
Down the river, a few miles, a few minutes, the din booming off the mountainsides has faded in the distance and time. A quiet flap of wings against water, a call of crow recruiting allies to give chase to hawk circling too close. A flutter, a cry of surprise and two redwing blackbirds bolt from the cover of a riverside shrub. Through it all the breeze hushes past my ears, sometimes rising, sometimes falling, always present. Gradually, one ride after another, the river of contrast reveals itself.
A duck couple enjoy the quiet of their own private swimming pool.
Are we still in the city? Yes.