This evening, I walk down through
the bracken ferns, and passing
between the hemlock and beech
trees, I find the worn path that leads
down the bank to the sandbar.
The water is slow here, and the
surface looks like glass, except
for where the mountain laurel
brushes the surface, creating
ripples as the branches dip into
the cold water as it flow beneath
the undercut bank on the other
I watch three minnows, wriggling
in the shallow water at the end
of the shoal where I am standing.
I kneel in the wet sand and muck
and with both hands, cup cold
creek water and let it run through
my fingers and shake the droplets
like rain on the surface.
When I was a boy, I would drink
from these cold waters, on hot
summer days on expeditions in
this same patch of dense woods,
but I would not risk it now, time
has muddied this water, slowed
its course with silt and mud,
covering the smooth stones
that once lined its bottom.
The sun is sinking, last light
reflecting off slow, stained water.
I wash the sand from my fingers,
and brush off my knees, staring
down into the depths once more.
I see my reflection, and in my eyes,
the creek water always flows.
By Joshua Lanier
On my daily walks, I often make my way to the creek bottom that I explored as a boy. These waters have healing properties, and I draw from them in my work, no matter what the subject. This creek is a point of reflection for me. The natural world is always the centerpiece of my work, whether it be fiction, essays, or poetry. My blog can be found at Wildcat Creek Journal.
Photo of creek in Marin County, California, by Neil Lockhart