Friday, July 23, 2010
Skeleton Creek at Sundown
When the temps finally dropped a bit this evening (meaning 96 as opposed to 102), I escaped to the creek for the first time this summer. The quiet waters hosted several large fish, standing almost motionless in the water, waiting for supper. The air whirred with life, locusts called from every tree above the back beat of Cardinal song. High above me two red-tailed hawks rode the heat in slow circles. I walked, silent myself, checking the banks for new erosion from the recent flooding; saw a second year stand of cottonwood seedlings doing well on the west bank; noticed that the activity of the beaver clan has slowed considerably, grasses beginning to fill in their slides and trails. While sitting on the horizontal tree, near the first bend in the creek, I was greeted by a flurry of small, black butterflies; circling my head, touching on hand, shoulder, face and shirt-front; a happy welcoming committee. Peace poised lightly on the moment, caressed by the sound of slow moving water and a passing flight of dragon-flies. Miraculously, the mosquitoes were not biting. There is a section of deposited sand along the west bank of that curve,that rises, by levels, upwards into the woods where my sis and I did our recycling sweep last spring. The sand there is full of the empty shells of small bivalves and snails. Rocks of all colors, having fallen from the flowing wash, nestle amid the light sand as well. I realize that nature is full of violence; lives are taken and shaken all day long, every day. It is the way of the natural food chain. But in that moment of solitude, adding my song to the cacophony of the wild, there seemed a pleasant peace, a harmony, which rested over all of us. The far bank reflected perfectly in the water before me. The far bank reflected....hmmm; as it should be, if it only could be so, here on this lovely planet: that our world could perfectly reflect the Far Bank. I stayed until the light had left the tops of the tallest trees, then rose to walk back, and was greeted, once I stepped into the water, by the bright, movement of hundreds of tiny water bugs, skating wildly across the surface of the creek, their movements highlighted by the fading light around us, giving the impression of water alive with sparkling life, which it was. A parting gift, an encouragement that brought a smile to eyes and mouth alike. Instead of walking back upstream, against the current, I followed the ladder of soil created by the beaver family, and after that 'swam' through the lowland grasses which grow densely and to heights of at least a foot higher than my head. If you happen have a fear of things unseen that might hide close to your passing and surprise you with their appearance, this would not be the best way for you to go. It is the shortest way out, however, so I took it and was soon standing on the oil well road which sits just to the east of the chicken house. A nice walk in the waning heat of a summer's day. Treasures in my pocket, eyes and heart that I may touch and remember on another day.