Golden Days

I’m taking care of a friend’s dog for 2 weeks and he is a bundle of energy, and yesterday I let them spirit me away for a walk to the river. We set off from the community center, a place they love to romp, so they were excited before even getting out of the car.

The woodland trail follows a wetland trickle until it grows into the tributary to the great marsh at Accokeek Creek, and now with the leaves thinning it feels so much more open in there. Throughout the green months the foliage wraps around you and the swamp forest seems like tunnels of cloying viney green, so lush with moist growth and decay.

Today, however  you can see/feel the big bowl of the marsh opening to the river beyond well up into the woods. It is a world of shimmering light: what leaves remain are golden, and seem translucent as well.

The tide was the highest I’ve ever seen,  bringing silver mirrors in all the dark low places. Water was creeping up to the edges of the path, tongues of river flowing over and so delicate for such a powerful force!

I call this trail Three Bridges. The first is three planks wide and crosses a tidal creek, muddy bottom, home to minnows,  wild yellow flag iris, cardinal flower. There’s always some water, but today it’s nearly up to the planking and pushing its way upstream with a steady force. Small trees, recently beaver-chewed, lie across the flood.

The next bridge is really just planks over a wet spot, and I was grateful for them, white sneakers and all. The dogs, one white, one mostly black, race in joyous circles, giddy in the crunchy leaves.

From there we draw nearer the mouth of yet another tributary, and the trail gets progressively muddier, recently tromped by school kids. Fingers of creek are reaching from left and right, and the bright shimmer of the flooded swamp lights up the remaining leaves. The final bridge is new, and links to the new rivers edge boardwalk. The old bridge, which sagged and bounced, would have been awash in this high tide. The new crossing carries us safely over the flood to the river, and my dogs thunder down the ramp to what was the beach, now flooded.

While we were at the river the tide turned. Reversing it’s push, beginning to pull the water out. A river exhales, inhales.

It wasn’t just a walk in the woods, it was a transcendant moment.

I’ll get you some photos today.

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