Postel on watching a river’s return

The first fingers of the Colorado Delta "pulse flow" creeping toward San Luis, March 25, 2014

The first fingers of the Colorado Delta “pulse flow” creeping toward San Luis, March 25, 2014, by John Fleck

Sandra Postel on the experience of watching water return to the Colorado’s sandy delta bed, again and again:

For me, some of the most powerful experiences have come from visiting the same location twice – before the river got there, and then again after its arrival.

One morning, we visited a dry, sun-baked, sand-filled channel that, more than anything else, evoked sorrow and loss. My main memory of that first stop at Reach 3 was of the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California hydrology team’s pick-up truck getting stuck in the deep channel sands that the Colorado River had delivered there many years ago.

When we returned to the same spot a few days later, the river was running through it – and the landscape had been completely transformed.

We arrived at sunset, and the beauty was breathtaking. Could this possibly be the same place where the truck had gotten trapped? Why had we not brought a picnic dinner to enjoy by the river’s bank?