“The beginning of all things lies still in the beyond in the form of ideas that have yet to become real.” I Ching, hexagram 1, The Creative
We live on the upper part of Scull Creek, which flows west and north out of Fayetteville. South of us lies a ridge, which is part of a larger watershed. Tracing a line on the map, following for the most part Old Wire Road south out of Missouri, thence along Mt. Sequoyah, crossing through the middle of Fayetteville along Maple St. and over the University of Arkansas campus, thence west and finally south again, the ridge rises between the West Fork of the White River and the Illinois River, finally meeting the Boston Mountain without ever crossing a watercourse. In fact, the watershed forms a fairly symmetrical sine curve as it passes through Fayetteville.
Scull Creek flows into Clear Creek, which is a tributary of the Illinois River, which meanders into Oklahoma before it empties into the Arkansas. The state of Arkansas has a regrettable tendency to pollute the Illinois with human waste and agricultural runoff, which has resulted in several lawsuits. Across the watershed, Town Branch flows into the White River, which passes through a series of hydroelectric reservoirs before making it’s way across the state to join the Mississippi. Curiously, the White River meets the Mississippi just a few miles north of the Arkansas River’s confluence with the Mississippi. They are connected by a man-made shipping channel.
All the water that falls on the north side of the Fayetteville watershed flows generally northwest, thence west, and finally south to join the Arkansas. Water falling on the south side of that watershed flows generally southeast, thence east, and finally north to become the White River. A gigantic spiral of flowing water on the surface, situated over porous limestone that probably carries similar but larger flows of water in the same directions.
Standing at the lookout on Mt. Sequoyah, looking south and west of Fayetteville, highway 62 passes through a dry gap. The Ozark terrain is entirely eroded plateau, mostly sandstone above limestone, so that dry gap had to have been formed by erosion. The most likely explanation is that at one time the West Fork of the White River flowed through the gap and into the Illinois River. At some point, that flow would have been captured by the White River, most likely as a result of seismic activity. The Fayetteville fault cuts through the center of our circle on a NNE bearing, more or less following the major axis of the sine curve.
We are sitting over a hydrological vortex, bisected by a fault line. Powerful stuff. This canoe, which is composed of the curves that occur in flowing water, is being built over that vortex, and will be launched in one of the streams that flow out of it, thus becoming part of the stream itself.