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Strandlines of Pleistocene Lake Lahontan. Now existing within the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation, NV
strand·line (strand′līn′) noun
a shoreline, esp. a former one from which the water has receded.
The simplicity of a line. Strandline as a form of geologic literature. The elusiveness of liquids. Shape-shifters. Hundreds of feet of water have drawn back and left their mark.
Two forces in contact, rock and water. A message has been written by the medium of time, drawn ever more distinct over thousands of years. Lapping becomes carving as a lake etches out its signal.
The earth is talking to us through these lines. Sending messages from a geologic epoch before ours. The strandlines are like a message in a bottle. Though we can’t hold the lines in our hands we can touch and “read” them. Once you start to look for them they appear everywhere. Their voices become louder. Physical, non-verbal communication via receded shoreline. One must access other layers of self and place to imagine these landscapes and sense their coexistence with the present.
To imaginatively inhabit the space and time of these ancient lakes, cognition must slip into dream-time. Discover the pleasure of happily sinking deeper. Setting sail to far away spaces and times. Finding solace in the quiet depths of forgotten inland seas.
These histories lap at the shores of present realities. They imbue the contemporary world with fantastical visions. Vast past meets present with all the spaces between chiming in.
It is an act of time travel to make contact with the strandlines. They are links to a deeply magical and mysterious past.
Pleistocene Lake Russell’s strandline obscured by the forest surrounding Mono Lake in 2009. Lake Russell once rose 130 meters above Mono Lake’s current water level.
A Bonneville etch. The strandline greets travelers arriving off I-80 as they enter the gambling town of Wendover UT/West Wendover NV
All photos in this post: Jamie Kruse 2009
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