LBelow and in front of the porch rail, the surface of Marsh
Creek is smooth like a 200-year-old farmhouse window pane, smoothly rippled as
the flow wanders and eddies its way to lower elevations. Reflections of creekside
oaks and sycamores decorate the translucent surface of the flow, itself browned
from nearby mountains’ muddied runoff – poor man’s fertilizer, some farmers call
it –in rounded jaggies across the stream. A short way up the creek, mated Red-tailed
hawks and a few Bald eagles prepare for their new families.
Across the glassine stage at the foot of the hill there pass
pairs of Canada Geese, a few mallards and their current loves – Canada geese
mate for life, mallards for convenience – and a clan of mergansers.
Several years ago, I wrote a story about an applesauce processor. My guide took me through the entire process, beginning with the orchard – – so far, science hasn’t come up with a way to make apples without the trees. Huge bins of apples were hauled to the processing plant, where the apples were washed, sorted, cored, chopped and mashed into mush, er, sauce, and poured into jars.
My guide was especially proud of the part of the process that killed off stuff that wasn’t apple. He was proud that, in his words, his sauce “would not support life.”
Funny thing, until then, I thought the purpose of the applesauce was to support life – mine, if I was the buyer.
Marsh Creek, a short distance from my home, is bloated like a certain writer who has partaken overmuch of turkey and ice cream at a family dinner. Rain pours down on the tableau, filling the myriad tributaries that flow into the creek like an array of gravy and soup bowls, each adding ingredients they have collected from minor hills and valleys in the larger creek’s watershed.
Just over a week ago, a snowstorm laid a biodegradable covering across the scene. Now the rain melds it into the water that is its main ingredient, expanding the creek to a degree the spring and summer feeder streams will not.
I went swimming in Marsh Creek last week. It wasn’t a planned exercise, but it was instructive. Global warming, it seems, has reached Adams County – a fact I had only suspected until, an hour after the impromptu dive, I’d not frozen to death.
We had gone canoeing on the creek, me with a camera – which attained a starring role in the story to follow.