30th October, 2001
I giggled as I sat down here.
I am at the edge of Oak Creek—the water glides by, carrying the first of the Fall(en) leaves on its surface. I am dressed for town, not for climbing around on the red rocks. My giggle (what a great word that is!) came from the pioneer feeling I had as I lifted my course-spun flaxen dress to take off my hook-and-eye laced boots and long cotton stockings. How many young girls in the olden times stole a bit of time away from the chores and the weaving to play in the cold waters of rushing creeks?
I have “stolen” this time—stolen it away from being “on stage” at my twice-weekly chair massage post. I need this. I need the time; I need the place; I need the sound of rushing water and the chill of it on my feet as the sun bakes my back. The trees and bushes hang low and hover over the surface of the creek. The greenery–now just beginning to turn color—is thick except for the ledge of red rock where I sit. The sky is changing from cloudy to sunny and the air just begins to lose its morning crispness and warm to the afternoon heat.
The area looks moderately well-used. A couple of old fire areas remain and there is charcoal graffiti on the rocks. I’m sure this is quite popular for summer swimmers. But today, it is mine alone. It can be a special place for me as well—like other places have been in the past: the rushing of Claverack Creek over Buttermilk Falls, the ever-changing Napa River near Yountville, the sometimes gentle, sometimes crashing waves at Long Beach—and the Mother of the Waters at the cliffs of Mendocino.
The Old Ones say that dragonflies are messengers. They hover around me and I wonder what messages they carry.
I want to jump in the water and give myself a ceremony. I am held back by fears both little and big– little ones of the inconvenience of wet clothes –big ones of what next?
What really is “next”? I am at a changing point, the feeling of that is clear. To work the change, I must release things that, although not always positive, have kept me company over the years. “Let go. Let go,” I hear myself say and yet I allow them back like the dragonflies buzzing around me. I allow them back…for the comfort of the familiar.
In testing for a place to dis-robe and enter the water, I slipped on the silt-covered rocks. It felt as though the water had grabbed me and tried to pull me in. I was only able to find a place where I could sit with my legs on just to my knees. So, I bent over and poured water on my head for the six directions.
Right across the Creek from where I sit is a young Sycamore tree. In its uppermost branches lies a dead, charred branch that was obviously snapped off in a lightning strike. And yet, the tree holds it—caresses it?—remembers how it was once the top-most part of the whole?—hangs on to it?—entangles it?—supports it until it finally drops away in its own time?—or is shaken down by a great wind?
How significant of me that tree is.
Clouds are thickening again over the canyon wall to the west and the breezes are picking up a little. The fragrance of the cool, earthy-smelling water wafts across my face. What sunlight there is, is cast upon the surface of the water. It plays in a silver dance of light reflecting across my body.
The Hunters’ Moon is tomorrow night. Kyle’s Lunar Birthday.
A wild duck just floated down stream. When it got to me, it flew directly west and landed in the calm waters just beyond the partial dam of rocks.
Time to take flight myself, I guess.