Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Triggering Memory

A rushing river, between North Bay and Petawawa.

Watercress and Walking

A freshet runs from the woods and through a culvert under the trail where I walk. Tender young weeds wave in the current on the other side.They trigger a memory. Another walk, this one with my father. We stand looking at a stream that runs under the sidewalk. My father has come here on purpose, to gather watercress for his sandwich.

I hadn't thought of that scene in decades. Or watercress either, for that matter. Funny how that happens, isn't it? When your mind is cleared of all the other dreck, something triggers a memory. A scene, perhaps, for a story. This is one reason why I like to walk.

Around here, spring is the best time for walking on the trail that I prefer. There's a cool breeze off the Bay and the sun is giving off some real warmth. It's been a long, hard winter. Now that the ice and snow have gone, little streams of water are everywhere. The ditches on both sides of the trail are full. Here the bushes are just starting to bud out, and the willows wear greenish-yellow haloes.

 There are sounds all around. A robin rustles through the dry stalks at the edge of forest looking for nesting materials. A killdeer warns of my approach. From the distance comes the sound of a train whistle, the clatter of the crew up on the highway, busy filling potholes. Down at the edge of the water a man is using a power washer on his boat, and someone else revs up a chain saw. Everywhere broken tree limbs tell of the ice storm and high winds.

But the Bay is fairly calm this morning and the swans have returned, puffy white clouds on the blue water, imitating the sky.

The muse returns.

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