I remember one of the first outings with B., when she was about six years old. We set out to explore the ravine and creek that lay across the road from the house, and in descending the steep embankment hand in hand created a very stable four-legged creature, three armed, two brained, two pulsed, and four eyed…..a happy delirium of syncopation. While it was mid-summer, sunny, and hot, we were afforded the great parasol of the forest, green and tattered to allow a scattering of jewel bright places on the brown, leaf- littered ground. We found the creek, as is usual in the summer months, nearly lost in its bed, the ledges of shale that were swept bare by spring floods now dry for several yards on either side of the stream, the stream itself but enough to fill a bath in several minutes. Of course, a smallish stream is like a smallish animal, so charming one must squat to meet it, arms length seeming that just distance to appreciate its leaps and ripples, and their myriad reflections. We headed upstream on the stone, easily crossing the stream with a step when it proved convenient, and pausing often at the invitation of some root or rock that seemed the moment’s miracle.
For skipping up and chattering we hadn’t noticed that the water sliding down and splashing chattered too, and in so doing hypnotized us. Such is moving water’s way. We took our path, thus mesmerized, to an idyllic pool, behind a dam formed from a fallen tree and all the detritus it captured. A pool no bigger than a man sized bed, but deep, and clear, and cold. B. offered this: “It looks so nice”, and so, appraising nuance and attire I questioned, “Do you want to swim?” No other word was said. She slipped as quickly as a frog into the sylvan pool, and left no room for me.
And surely no room, save that very spot I held in all creation, could have so sufficed my soul.