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September 2004

The brook flows quietly through a secret place hidden beneath the willows and the Michaelmas daisies leaning across its banks. Sunlight filters through the leaves, a sparkle here, a golden gleam there, but most is in twilight shades of dark green. Gentle sounds. Almost silence. I came upon this place by accident born of need. I knew I wanted more of this day than it yet had offered. A little something to lift a flagging spirit, and give-renewed strength to the hand. " Stay the course", has been my command of late, but I've begun to falter.

I went to the riparian buffer zone to look for Rugosa roses. They have become rare of late. Their fragrant blooms, that is. I don't know why. It would seem their efforts are being spent on producing rose hips rather than roses. A promise for autumn but none to be realized today. My eye caught sight of my favorite shade periwinkle blue Michaelmas daisies. A solid mass of them. Tall. Covered with blossoms. I wanted them, although I still hesitate to pick their flowers wanting them to seed more thickly in the buffer zone. But want them I did.

The slope down to the brook was as steep as slopes can be here. Which means not very deep, but very slippery and almost straight down I didn't care. I wanted those flowers. There was a strong possibility I'd slide into the brook but that didn't matter. I scrabbled down anyway. The brook was surprisingly shallow in this spot, barely covering the feet of my boots. I crossed it to gather flowers from the far bank. There were taller than I, the blue of my favorite dreams. I went a little farther down to gather still another kind of wild flower, orange, delicate. There stems are merely hollow, asking for more water than they possibly can drink when held in a vase but, nonetheless, pick them I did. Their orange, a perfect foil for the periwinkle blue.

I turned back to work my way up the slope again. It was then that I saw it. A most perfect spot to sit awhile and dream. Some stones lining the bank covered with a canopy of willows and wild cherries and Michaelmas daisies. A place I've never been before on this farm, this farm that I sometimes think I know. I live here, and have for a long enough time to be acquainted with much of the land but will never live long enough to be more than acquainted with it. It changes, each day, each season, each year. The brook meanders through the pastures. And in that, change course from time to time, affecting all around it.

There is a dam nature made fifty feet or so above the lovely, silent stand of Michaelmas daisies. It is made of fallen trees, mud, gravel, and sprouting willow, it's roots mingling with the rotting branches of a little cherry tree. I love pulling it apart, untangling the branches hearing the sudden roar of water as it rushes through the newly made breach. I'm getting good at nicking dams. There is a system to it. Taking it apart in stages so I don't go down with it. leaving the crucial part intact until the last and then pulling it out suddenly. Water tearing through. There is nothing as invigorating as tearing out a dam. I always leave it, wet through to the skin, boots heavy with water, summer, winter, feeling capable of any task facing me for the rest of the day, no matter how formidable. Sometimes I'm even happy. But the tearing out of dams was not to be today. Nor did I need that kind of feeling. It was the mystery of coming upon that quiet, secret place, willows and periwinkle blue Michaelmas daisies that I needed. It was the mystery.

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