Mt. Nusatsum

Mt. Nusatsum

Thursday, January 7, 2010

When Relics Become Artifacts

I'm sure the science of Archaeology has rules and debates about when old junk becomes an artifact, but looking at this old piece of rusted steel on the Bella Coola River estuary at Christmas time when my daughter and I took a sortie on the estuary made me realize that artifacts don't have to be very old to start taking on meaning and teaching us about the past.

This old piece of machinery looks like the remains of the cab of a log yarding machine or part of the log dumping apparatus which used to be in place in the estuary prior to the early 1970's.  While first impressions are that's it's ugly and maybe at one time it was environmentally hazardous if it leaked oil, now it's beyond that and in it's own way it's actually attractive in my opinion.  Not only is it kind of visually attractive with the hues of iron rust that have developed but it also represents an important part of the  history of Bella Coola and the people that worked hard in the past.

Now don't get me wrong, I wouldn't choose to put an old piece of machinery on a important estuary for fish and wildlife like the Bella Coola estuary, but facts are it's there and not only does it illustrate to us what used to take place there, but how much change can actually happen.  For many many years logs were dumped in places like the Bella Coola estuary and the estuaries were diked, channeled, bridged and otherwise altered, but that era is long past in Bella Coola and that work goes in a appropriate place further down the channel.  This estuary is again a quiet place other than many species of birds, important plants and occasional bear that wanders around.  All the various activities that went on in the estuary from farming to airstrips to log and boat storage are becoming hard to distinguish.  I found myself giving my daughter a history lesson about these things that have some remaining clues as to what went on, but without an explanation about the past just have no context and don't seem possible.

Weather update - Finally a little bit of weather to talk about today.  We didn't change much in temperature from the zero C range we have been in but a short blast of freezing rain went through tonight and left a nice glaze on everything in a really short order.  Careful on the roads.  Grizzly