Suddenly the hills are leaking from every direction as the last snow melts off the fields. Small gurgles, rivulets, little trinklets, larger seasonal streams, they all are rushing and tinkling and tumbling down in their haste to make it away from these sodden hilltops, perhaps for fear of drying up themselves now that the winter took a hike following large flights of geese up north.
As we walk down the old formerly a road, small gurglers join us, creeping under stone walls and out from hollows, tripping all over themselves to make it to the down-under-the road culverts, situated just-so for this once a year onslaught that takes out anything in its way. And here and there they busily work on washing away this ancient path on which Tom-Toms and Garmins and Google’s maps send poor innocents in delivery trucks and unfamiliar sedans visiting the hills astray and deeply into mud, its simple-seeming quarter-mile connection between farms abandoned when these hills were no longer the answer to what a modern young couple might do with themselves, sometime in the middle of the twentieth century I imagine.
It is a very pleasant and friendly and frankly a teeny bit boring flood this year with its slow melt and no rain – disconcertingly no rain—in which snow slowly leaks from under the banks and wears out the ice in the streams from below until the edges are razor thin and the whole thing collapses and washes away.
On a walk along the Mill River we play with the water. No longer does my friend dare me to cross like the dogs on a snow bridge and do I follow him with dire threats to his progeny if he has to pull me out of the drink. Instead, he finds a large stick and helped by two curious dogs he pushes and prods remnants of the ice shield into the water to float away darting down the stream with the quick swish of experienced kayakers until they wash up on a rock somewhere, but only for a minute until the pushy stream gets a hold and urges them onward and sends them melting them into oblivion also.
And on the bridge where we often turn around we play Pooh Sticks running back and forth across and they always take longer to emerge than we think they should as we hang over the rail, like we did last year and the year before and going back at least fifteen years — oohing and aahing at the elegance of the long branches we dumped in to play the eddies and quickly surf down into the vee between two rocks only to shrug and roll and escape with a wiggle on their way to who knows where.
We stop to sniff and we stop to look at waters rushing down the hill each new, each different from last year and last week. We admire the dogs splashing in and out of water and snow, eating the snow and drinking the water and splashing back up the hill. And then we stand again listening to the gurgling and splashing and tinkling and the incredible clarity and wonder what it is what it is calling us to do. I think I want to be it or one with it but what is that, really?
Do we want to drink it or splash and lie in it like the dogs? Truly we would not, it is so cold so cold, and my friend decides what he really would want to do is standing in it except he doesn’t want to take off his boots. Hah! Who’s a bore now? I make fun of him now taunting him to do it, get his feet in there and live. But we walk and still we wonder as we stop again to feel the rush of cold air rolling down the hill and see and hear the wetness the clear cool wetness of water on rocks and dripping and rushing and jumping this way and that.
And it is just such a thing to experience.