Found this glorious path along the Columbia Gorge. It used to be a highway in the era of the Motel T. Then cars got wider and another adjacent highway was built — and in the 1990’s the original was revamped it for bikers and walkers. This waterfall lured me in to sow some seeds. I used narrow-leaf milkweed harvested in the Hood River area.
For the sound, I pulled out my modular synth from the bottom of my pannier and ran the waterfall through what is called a ‘convolution’ module. In music, convolution refers to the multiplication of two audio signals to create a new signal. It’s often used in reverb plugins (i.e. convolving a dry signal with an impulse response of a resonant room or hall). But for this application, I’m convolving the sound of the waterfall with itself. You could think of it as the waterfall’s spectral double.
Timothy Morton writes that all ecological beings have a spectrality to them. According to Morton, the definition of an ‘ecological being’ is capacious. It includes waterfalls – he specifically used that example in his book Humankind: Solidarity with Non-Human People. So then what is spectrality? A specter is a wavering presence, a ghostly presence. A shadow. I like the idea of a waterfall as an ecological being that can haunt and be haunted. I like to imagine a waterfall as a perceiving entity — not just a backdrop that we can dip our head into (I did). This waterfall has its own logic for existing and is talking to its specter via the convolution effect. Convolved or convoluted? The former, I hope!