Saturday, November 15, 2003



About four times a year the bubbly mountain stream up in the forest whence we get our water plays its pranks on us, as nature in all its ways is wont to do to the straight-line plans we humans make, and following a heavy rainstorm or snowstorm or windstorm or leafstorm, as of the past few days (we're early up here compared to the flatlands), the stream chuckles as it carries leaf after leaf to the mesh pipe that drains into our cistern, blocking the mesh or in other times covering it with sand or pebbles or twigs, whatever it has at hand.

So we've been getting some pretty slow and aerated water the past few days, making our bath look like a genuine onsen (hot spring bath) and our tap water look like milk, though it settles clear in a minute or two, but still you can never be sure for that minute or two, which can be trying after a while, say when I am making tea, for which my standards are much more stringent than, for example, those at NASA.

This morning, since I finally wasn't going off to work in the city, and though there are about 27 other things that urgently need doing at last count, I put on my tool belt and high boots, grabbed a pick and shovel and headed on up the road into the forest, on the way checking out the nice new log house a young couple has just built in the woods above, and meeting another neighbor on the other side who had been laboring mightily moving a refrigerator-sized rock from the edge of his property into precisely the right place along his garden walk. He had just finished, so I could be no help.

Continued on up over carpets of acorns onto a mossy road to the stream up on the edge of a meadow surrounded by cedars, noting the good wild fruit and herb places for future reference (especially some nice wild persimmons and red berries), offroad into the sunlight along the stream to the pipe inlet, moved some rocks to improve inlet and outlet, cleaned off the mesh pipe, checked it all over for general rightness, then just stood there in the stream in the sunlight until I'd gathered about all the sunlight and stream I could take with me. Nothing like standing in forest sunlight, knee deep in endless laughter. The water from our tap is now clear and bright and soft as rain, thanks to all the laughing that goes on and on up there in the forest.

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