Summer Stream

I sit on a wooden stool in the corner of the yoga platform Woody built for me in the very backest corner of the back shade garden. May has barely come yet already the air sits with summer heaviness around me. My vision is green filtered. I hear the stream, not a brook, just a stream, that now flows from one side of the garden to the pond that is on the other side, just before the barn-red garden shed with moss growing on the roof. Our stream – and it is just ours, beginning and ending its life on our property – our stream flows over and around and alongside Woody’s rocks. He told me once that he thought he had moved each rock at least four times: once into the van from wherever he found it, once out of the van into the back that was truly then just an English yard and not yet a garden, once into position where he wanted it, and again into position where he liked it better. He dug the pond bed and the stream bed. He laid the pipe and the liner and installed pump and filter, he positioned the rocks and he planted the plants and young trees, all under and within the secret shaded space between the rising spruces. All carefully planned so that, sitting here in early summer, I would see, hear, smell, feel, know only nature’s beauty. Flowering rhododendron, fading Lenten roses, fiddlehead ferns, vinca, other plants whose names I never remember despite his patiently repeated namings, leafing redbuds, flowing stream. And so I do, I see nature not conformed but transformed. And I also see Woody, not in a grain of sand or in the palm of my hand, but invisibly here.

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