Monday, July 26, 2010

Salt Spring

Everybody needs a contingency plan, for days when it's too humid to bear. This is ours. Saturday was one of those days where a washcloth would get wetter, not drier, if you hung it outside in the sun. Days like these, no activity is more appropriate than splashing around in a shaded creek.

The picture above reminds me so much of home. When I spotted that scene: a leggy maple growing out over the water, casting its gentle shadow on the water and brown creek-bottom, something stirred. I grew up splashing around in a brook on hot days--Platner Brook, the one that ran through my parents' backyard. The one that was shady and cool on sticky summer days, where leggy maples cast their shadows on the brown creek-bottom.

Summers, we kids of swimming age would weld into a pack, roaming and splashing and floating and biking and carrying on down the mile-long stretch of road and brook that comprised the neighborhood. More salamanders were caught than you might at first believe.

Platner brook was my classroom and playground in summertime, where I learned to catch crayfish and dabbled in social graces. For an only child with a deep, wide independent streak, the brook pushed me to the necessity of interaction.

For a long time, I preferred the fishes and flowers and soft maple shadows.

Maybe I still do, really. In a place like this, humanness seems so utterly beside the point. You can be human anywhere, really, and see and interact with humans anywhere.

But these bean-sized fish, these purple raspberry flowers, these hemlock needles? These are the treats of a cool glassy creek on a July afternoon.


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