After we rearranged our priorities this weekend, in the order of: 1. May we be slow 2. May we feel connected 3. May we spend no more than 5 minutes in the car, the true richness of what was available to us emerged from within and stepped forward from without.
Like spring wildflowers, Dry Creek is a seasonal friend whose voice is icy and exuberant in the winter and languid and nurturing in the early summer. Her banks are soft sandstone, curving to create deep pools and little puddles, mysterious in design and allowing for a beautiful dance of water as she flows to Cow Creek and then to the Sacramento River.
We spent two mornings here, and I imagine if I still lived nearby, we would spend every morning for two months bearing witness to the tadpoles of bullfrogs, the sticklike nose of turtles and the emergence of dragonflies.
Come July, all but the deepest pools will be thick with yellow algae, the fascination and scourge of my childhood. Right now, in mid-June, the creek presents as life-giving waters, hiding and feeding the aquatic animals and, for at least a certain sort of animal person, providing crunchy crawdad snacks.
Racoon tracks. At first I thought they were imprints and I couldn’t figure out how this had happened.
The prints of a mama and her babies led from one pool to another, at each the traces of munched crustacean shells.
After sitting with the tracks for a while, I realized they were not imprints, but the faintest painting of the finest silt. The footprints ended at a pool, and I imagined little hands washing themselves in fastidious absolution, stars shining down on their grateful baptism.
Jackalopes live here too…
…as well as St. John’s Wort…
I made a Mimulus flower essence our second morning there. I bet you can guess how this little yellow bloom works on the emotional body. Mimulus puts to bed (and tucks in tight with a kiss) everyday anxieties and fears. The flower proclaims the basic goodness of life itself. The course of Dry Creek is mostly forgotten and ignored, despite the astounding, but quiet, magic that lives along its banks. It doesn’t concern itself with affairs of (wo)men. Instead, it just simply is, flowing along in contradiction to the crackling brown hills. An hour spent in its company is an abundant reminder of the birthright of all creatures on terra firma. The brilliancy of living and the inevitable normalcy of dying. What to do in the meantime? Love.