May 05, 2003

Wild Places

image copyright Fred First

Where our land ends, a Wild Place begins. Picture a "V" 500 feet on its sides and at the bottom, a tumbling creek gurgling, flowing past, dropping over, curling around jumbled boulders and broken trees-- parts of massive hemlocks and pines dropped and broken away from thin soil by ice storm and Hurricane Hugo. Along and high above this falling branch runs an old postal road on which a man on horseback delivered saddlebags of mail from the once-thriving farming community of Simpsons to the remote families that inhabited our spare valley. No one goes here anymore, except a peculiar middle-aged couple of tree-huggers, and a dog. It's one of our favorite places, and I'll only show you if you don't tell anyone else. Promise?

We walk that high handmade road from time to time, looking down the "V" in places fifty feet or more above the creek below, seeing falls upon falls. It's way too steep to venture down those banks and we find ourselves saying "one day we need to start on our place, where the banks aren't so steep, and just walk the creek up into the canyon here". But we never had. Until yesterday I did.

The old timers pass our place here sometimes and notice that the homeplace has been given a new life. They knew this place better than we do, living around here all their lives, and they stop to chat. "I'll bet you enjoy dipping in the old 'green holes' up the creek there. We used to gather there back when we's kids. Some of those holes were deep enough to dive in".

"Well, no sir" I tell them, "the deep plunge pools have pretty well filled in with silt and creek gravel. There wasn't much farming upstream, I reckon, when you were a little boy. But it's pretty, just the same".

Still, I imagine sliding into one of those dark green-black pools, shedding all encumbrances and cares, gasping with the first shock, feeling on my skin the sting of water the temperature of the very earth, slipping down, down and under emerald water, in a wild place under a warm blue summer sky.

See the image of the mountain stream once again. And read these liquid words from Sainteros. Ahhh. Goosebumps.

Posted by fred1st at May 5, 2003 03:10 PM | TrackBack

Hi Papa. This summer, every southbound mile of a thousand I'll be thinking of gouging out that silt, foolish as the idea is, and digging till I hit green emerald. Then we'll dive sans skivvies, and shout from the cold. With that thought in mind, I'll go home happy tonight.

Posted by: your boy at May 5, 2003 05:29 PM

I envy you that creek and I'm glad your site is there for me to read about creeks, trees, and walks. The sainteros site link you provided seems to be a dead link for me... I'll try again later...

Posted by: Fran at May 5, 2003 05:46 PM

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