Sunday, April 1, 2012

Down the Creek

I decided to go to the nearby reservoir and take pictures of creeks. (We all get our thrills in different ways.) My first subject was a little creek that filters slowly through the wetlands. At its point of discharge into the reservoir, this poky creek is scarcely distinguishable from an inlet.

Leaving this dull setting, I walked for about half a mile until I came to the main creek supplying the reservoir. This creek's water flows in an eight foot wide undulating channel through the high ground of the woodlands until it passes beneath a footbridge and descends via a short rapids before emptying into the reservoir.

And from slightly farther downstream:

I find the rapids an idyllic place to while away my time. The scenery is so fine that one needs to employ rapturous nineteenth-century prose to do it justice:

Upstream at the footbridge the creek presents a featureless surface of gunmetal gray; but as the creek accelerates in its descent, gentle wavelets and then light coruscations appear on the water's surface; and beyond this the creek takes a dogleg bend to the right, throwing the water's force against the nearer bank, where the creek, tumbling hard over jutting rocks and falling into abrupt hollows, tosses up silvery spray and opalescent froth; while along its farther bank the creek remains smooth and shallow and transparent, revealing a green fringe of lacy plant life clinging to the flat stone bottom of the creek bed; and at last the rapids spend themselves in a sharp plunge down a natural staircase of four rocky steps, making the creek's water, milky with turbulence, roil and splash on its way past a crazy tripod of three stark branchless tree trunks looming over the broad basin that dissipates the force of the rushing water into slowly rotating circles of foam.

I like to take a seat beside the rapids, put my feet up, and pretend that I'm a latter-day Huckleberry Finn.

Actually, I lack Huckleberry Finn's sunny disposition. I'm a closer match for the restless Tom Sawyer. And, more's the pity, I'm probably an even closer match for Ben Rogers, the gullible kid suckered by Tom Sawyer into whitewashing the fence for him.

Ben said: "Hello, old chap, you got to work, hey?"

Tom wheeled suddenly and said: "Why it's you Ben! I warn't noticing."

"Say – I'm going in a swimming, I am. Don't you wish you could? But of course you'd druther work – wouldn't you? Course you would!"

Tom contemplated the boy a bit, and said: "What do you call work?"

"Why ain't that work?"

Tom resumed his whitewashing, and answered carelessly: "Well, maybe it is, and maybe it ain't. All I know is, it suits Tom Sawyer."

"Oh come now, you don't mean to let on that you like it?"

The brush continued to move.

"Like it? Well I don't see why I oughtn't to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?"

That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nibbling his apple. Tom swept his brush daintily back and forth – stepped back to note the effect – added a touch here and there – criticized the effect again – Ben watching every move and getting more and more interested, more and more absorbed. Presently he said: "Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little."

Yeah, that's me.

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