Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ozarks 13.11.04: Honey-Colored Rocks, Swift Creeks

We’re at Kats Rest now. A beautiful November day, cold with high wisps of cirrhus clouds. I love this time when leaves have fallen and the lambent late-afternoon light of autumn brings honey to the surface in colors of fallen leaves and sandstone on the hillside east of the creek. Already as noon nears, the sun is westering to the mountaintop opposite, and will go down.

We’re here only a few hours. Joe’s fiddling with the well—some malfunction of the pump—and Steve’s starting coals for steak. We’ve brought along the leek and potato soup I made two nights ago.

I’ve started a fire in the fireplace, and it’s burning proudly and casting quite a heat already. I’m in a chair in front of it. The waterfall’s roaring with great force down its chute.

I have a cup of tea beside me, and Steve’s brought a glass of red wine. What more could a body want?

My soul is rested. Just coming here—especially in a season I love so well—makes me feel alive again, rest somewhere deep inside. I need this place, its gifts to me. I thought, as we drove down the steep road here, that it’s a retreat place. Sacraments are wonderful, and it would be grant to have a priest here to sustain us with holy bread. But this holy spot—its honey-colored rocks, its deep spirit-laving waters, its fern fronds beside swift clean creeks, its silence and remoteness—it, too, nourishes spirit.

As I write this, the fire shifts and a large log comes careening forward. I take the fire poker and try to shift it back, making a bollocks of the procedure. Now the inner core of the fire is opened and released, burning fiercely. So our hearts and minds and souls, if we can clear the obstructions . . . .

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