February 18, 2003

Fragments, Well Seasoned

Now in my eighth month of journalling here in Fragments, I appreciate the cycles of life that are showing up as time passes and the days' entries grow and fill these pages. From the sum of them come rhythms and patterns not evident or important perhaps to the casual reader of these words. But to the author, the common thread in snippets and fragments is beginning to tell as story missed when a day's thoughts and musings stand alone.

And too, standing back from the present, with the perspective of many months of writing, I realize how much the effort of daily jounalling has been good for me, to give perspective, purpose and meaning in these bits of thought and memory. I need that... to know that the value of the sum is more than one morning's silly ramblings that I so often hesitate to post. Keep it. It will be a drop in a larger pond someday.

I was considering all this as we walked the road this morning, sliding on the icy lane beside the creek that flows well up in its banks. Water hangs in frozen drops from the alders and covers the Broomsedge, so cold and brittle it shatters with the slightest touch. Springs boil up literally from the middle of the road and the world is saturated with a month's worth of water.

Standing in that very place in August, we wondered then if we would ever hear the drip and gurgle and splash of water in our valley again. Those memories from the terrible drought of late summer bring back the feel of dry heat, and hot breezes, and this is not altogether an unwelcome illusion in the middle of February. I'll snip a bit of these summmer memories that make me smile, as I read back through the seasons, bundled in front of the woodstove this morning:

from Every Drought Ends with a Good Rain August 09, 2002
... One has only to dig down a bit over by the barn to know that rounded river rocks by the tens of thousands have been washed down the narrow Rhododendron-shrouded gorge of the nameless creek that flows together with Goose Creek not 100 feet from where I sit. This same creek, tumbling down from its springfed source, has meandered first against the resistant rock of the east ridge of our valley, then the west, then back again, each time widening our little pasture by imperceptible inches in 100 years...such an unthinkably long time to our mortal perspective, a flash of time in a million years of wind and sun, frost and floods.

Floods are cataclysmic, sudden, drastic and evident in their consequences. Drought is chronic, insidious, draining life invisibly, quietly, leaving no record in the sands of geology's time. It is an abundance of water that has carved the hollow of the creekbed and made valley wide, not its absence. It is an abundance of water that has nurtured the broadleaved forest of these mountain hillsides. Drought has not formed this landscape, and it seems reasonable to hope that it will not subdue it now.

We will miss the rains for a few more weeks, for maybe one more season. But we must learn to see the cycles of wet and dry as the land sees it, and be still. If history is any lesson, the water will win the day.[More]

from Showers of Blessing August 15, 2002
... The clouds spoke of rain since mid-morning, but only in a distant whisper, and in jest. Nothing at all appeared on the weather radar that I watch like an ancient shaman watches bird entrails for signs of what might be. Once again, we were taunted with the hope of rain. Oh how those first drops would seem miraculous, the ordinary become extraordinary, sacred and hallowed, if only they would come. Soon.

And then they came. Three large, fat drops on the pavers outside the porch door. Then nothing, only a high hot wind. I lay down on the walk and watched the clouds form demons and cherubs; but a gray, flat, featureless raincloud would have been the most beautiful cloud of all. So intent on the vision overhead, I had not heard the first hints of rustling down our valley to the south. Wind? Rain? Both?

Sudden, sustained and smelling of dust and ozone, the blessed rains swept in sheets down the valley. It is raining still. This afternoon, we have walked in it, waded in it, rejoiced in it. How frail we are in that the cellular seas within us, plant and animal alike, are filled by rains and rivers that we do not own and cannot invoke by a word or a law. We live on a Water Planet, but it is all too easy to take this miraculous liquid for granted. I hope that I never will again. [More]

Posted by fred1st at February 18, 2003 05:22 AM | TrackBack
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