It’s been a year since I hatched this plan, exploring the same stream monthly. I’m still learning new things, as evidenced by magenta blooms of scaly blazing star hanging over the precipice of a dolomite rock face. If I was better at math, or more committed to narrative, I could reason a guess where the waters curled around my legs that day wound up. If it didn’t sink into gravels and aquifers, or raised and released by roots, shoots, and stems, if it wasn’t imbibed by a whitetail or didn’t cling like a bead to the back of a southbound wood duck, that water might be passing Saint Louis or Memphis by now.
The water’s come up, and it’s gone down. Water has dug into banks, bringing down tall walnuts and locusts, abandoning old channels and filling temporary ones. Gravel as shifted, riffles and logjams and pools moved. The stream has been busy, the stream has been empty.
And I still haven’t found an easy way in to the best spots.