Gypsy Spirit recently posted a beautiful and evocative entry about a walk during which she discovered a tiny stream and a house and a garden that filled her with delight and awe. Cherry blossoms made it that much more magical.
Her description of the stream and garden inspired me to go back and locate an essay I wrote back in 2002 about a little stream I discovered by chance flowing through woods adjacent to where I lived in 1980.
It brought back a lot of memories about a time and place I’ve never forgotten.
Here is what I wrote:
“One afternoon during a walk near my apartment many years ago when I lived in Columbia, S.C. , I discovered a small stream in the woods a couple of hundred yards from where I lived. I had no idea it was there.
“The creek itself was quite small, three or four feet wide and and few inches deep, but it always seemed to be flowing about the same depth and speed, as if fed by a spring. At one point, I could stop and sit on a log and watch and listen as it flowed over a scoured out section of rock. It formed a small “V” and was one of the few spots where you could actually hear the rushing of water over rock. But it was a quiet sound, this movement over rock.
“I can remember sitting there on Saturday afternoons staring at that flowing water, hearing its gentle presence in a steady, rhythmic run downstream, listening for any differing characteristics of the sound. There were none. It was singularly uniform, utterly pleasing and soothing. Something about that moving water was just immensely relaxing and comforting. It pulsed and flowed. I focused on that one spot for long moments.
“Where was the water coming from? I knew where it was going. First to Gills Creek, then on to the mighty Congaree River which courses through Columbia, formed at the confluence near downtown of the Broad and Salula rivers. The Congaree makes its way downstream to Lake Marion, impounded during the 1930s, and thence, by way of the Santee and Cooper rivers to the Atlantic Ocean at Charleston and north near Georgetown.
“This tiny tributary stream feeds a great river. The beauty it created was part of an entire tableaux of trees and rocks, blue skies and fresh air. I always thought of that creek as a kind of symbol of eternal things – at least it would always be there as long as that piece of earth endured and man did not alter or destroy the surrounding landscape.
“I think, too, of the poet Wordsworth’s lines in the final River Duddon sonnet, that lovely series of poems celebrating this special English stream”:
I thought of thee, my partner and my guide,/As being past away — Vain sympathies! For backward Duddon as I cast my eyes,/I see what was, and is, and will abide;/Still glides the Stream, and shall forever glide;/The Form remains, the Function never dies.
Last updated September 24, 2021