Late Afternoon Post, April 11, 2017

The briers tear at my feet and I duck and turn my way through the young trees that grow here like tall grass.

 

They are almost woven together and at times I am completely off the ground, pulling and pushing myself, almost swimming, through the tangle of slender trunks and branches.  I don’t escape until I reach the creek itself and here I wade in and feel the frigid water against the tears in my ankles and shins that the thorns have made.  I decide now to immerse myself entirely in this clean, shocking cold stream; to wash away all the sweat and caked dust and mites and burs I have collected on my way down.

I wade up and into a deep, blue hole and bend at the knees and go under and the shock is intense and stimulating.  I feel newly laundered.  No, I just feel new.  I dunk myself again and then a third time and then wade across the stream into rushing white water. I stretch my arms horizontally, like a tight-rope walker as I resist the push of the loud, rushing current and then step out onto  a line of great stones on the other bank and stand there in the sunlight, draining water, blackening the yellow sandstone on which I am perched.  Above me some great bird wheels and calls as if angered by my intrusion and when I look up the stream at the farthest turn I see four deer wading and bending to drink.  I wonder why I have waited so long to return to this ritual and promise myself, there and then, that it will not be so long before I come here again.

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