Mere days after wildfires had ravaged the canyons and mountains just west of Boulder, CO, the rains came down hard and fast. With vegetation no longer there to soak up rain and soil so badly burnt and damaged that it repels water rather than absorbing it the situation was ripe for flooding. On this day, July 8th, the waters rose high on Boulder Creek, but luckily only threaten and no serious damage resulted to life or property.
As I set out to capture these rising waters I was captivated by the painting featured prominently in this post. This mural, painted by “Bernstein” (c. 2007) graces the 28th street underpass in Boulder. The mural is a homage to Katsushika Hokusai (葛飾北斎, 1760–1849) who was a Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period. Born in Edo (now Tokyo), Hokusai’s best-known work was the woodblock print series “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” (富嶽三十六景, c. 1831) which includes the depicted iconic and internationally recognized print, “The Great Wave off Kanagawa“, which Bernstein re-envisioned with his mural. The preeminence of “The Wave” —said to have inspired both Debussy’s La Mer and Rilke’s Der Berg—can be partly attributed to the compelling contrast between the wave and the mountain , or of two natural elements vying for attention and, ostensibly, dominance. Mt. Fuji is depicted in the original while here a diminutive tree plays acts as stand-in for that iconic peak.