Here at long last is the lovely winding brook that hooks our tiny stream into the powerful waterway of our closest river.
I've only been here twice with yesterday being the second time. The first time was during the late summer of our first year living in this place. J. had been walking and riding his bike throughout the local byways. Sometimes just after the peak of summer's Golden Hour we'd jump in the truck and he'd show me local sites he knew would be of interest to me.
Back then: Even though the growing season's foliage was beginning to thin there was still too much vegetation to see the above side of the brook. But yesterday I could plainly visualize the Way it must meander to the point I've already documented right here. The portion of the brook pictured as this post's lede was partially obscured with copious festoons of Virgin's Bower. Their petals were dried to browning threads or fallen. I leaned in so close, atop an unstable embankment, that I nearly toppled over in my effort to get a decent closeup of the nearest whirling seedheads yet-to-be.
A few moments later J. alerted me that someone had clocked us and was 'coming down'. I asked what that meant without losing focus of framing options. As is our way if he's driving or I'm taking pictures, I received an ongoing narration of all he observed of the woman's approach. a woman, definitely, without a gun. She's older. Can't tell if she's angry or afraid ...
It turned out she was neither. She'd noticed us stop in a place where nobody does that and then observed me lurching. On what was a very warm evening. Thought it might be a health crisis in need of extra help. We all exchanged names. After four months of living here she was the first person to offer us a name and express awareness we existed as actual people rather than Whoever bought the house we'd purchased.
(now on the brink of a solid decade living in such a culture I do it too at least in casual social-construct conversation: automatically communicating via the now-ingrained Whoever thing. As a description of somebody - an actual person who probably wouldn't like it any more than I did in the beginning - who wasn't there before. Whoever.)
Sometimes within the first few years of living here and still not knowing more than one other neighbor by name we would marvel at how bizarre it was that this was obviously normal business as usual for people living in a terrain where a person really ought to know who they live in community with and be on at least sporadic speaking terms with them. We would look at each other with slowly shaking heads whenever we had these discussions; dismayed by the folly of humans declaring each other irrelevant to a level of bedrock foolishness. Then one would remind the other well we know (person in this story's name). Closing in on a decade we don't have these conversations anymore. We'd be able to list a couple dozen people between us and, in point of truth, part of why we wished to live here specifically was so we wouldn't feel forced into continuous social rigors brought on by closer proximity to other lives in different dwellings.
Many years later the same woman wandered, on a spur of the moment whim, into the first session of the library collage lab. I didn't recognize her until after the fact nor did she recognize me. She raised her hand quite promptly when I asked who believed they weren't creative. And shook her head in disbelief when I assured them they'd all be leaving with a book they'd made themselves. Later I observed her carefully searching through all the old national geographics. It wasn't until I prowled back around as she was preparing to stitch that I saw she'd methodically tracked down every tiger image she could find. And I hope never to forget the precise illumination of her smile and the soft lilt in her voice as she said to me I made a book.
A few weeks later we were rear-ended and my brain got dinged so the following month's planned session was postponed. She'd come on the pre-arranged date - bringing with her paper she'd purchased in Italy years before and wished the program to use in some way. But she never returned. By then I'd realized who she was (She has a very common first name - the kind that might not stick out in a conversation unless you had another piece or two of personal meaning to attach) and kept hoping she'd re-appear. Yesterday while I was at the brook I glanced up the hill of her front lawn a couple of times. Wishing for a little past is prologue action.
In the town where I was raised a few hundred miles south of here I would not have thought twice about pulling my car around to the bottom of her drive, re-parking it, and walking up to her door in order to re-introduce myself. Here, after nearly a decade of being here, I simply made note of that fact. Got back into my car to reflect on what had become a very meandering route home. Thought I'd had two posts worth of experiences and images but there on that brief semi-colon of a road so close to my own front door I realized it would actually be three. Because I so loved and wished to include the way this speck of a moment could be expanded upon to include synchronicity with the collage theme going on at my other blog.
and far more importantly:
This is water directly connected to not just our stream but also our well. They're both given some derivation of the same water to hold. So this tiny little nook of a place just a bit further down the massive hill on which I live IS my life. Its water is the wild inverse of my life's ability to maintain itself in ways I consider normal and necessary. If for no other reason - this part of my documentation effort deserves and needs to stand alone.
From now on I'm going to walk to this place. I'll let that walk be the sole purpose out on such occasions - treating a previous afterthought as its own purposeful excursion - rather than a quick something I accomplish in the midst of several other Out In The World things on my to-do list. This is my literal back yard. Will definitely walk there for any future visits.