Beautiful Decay

A fallen log in the stream bed at Longleaf in February, 2013.
A fallen log in the stream bed at Longleaf in February, 2013.

Don’t laugh (or cry, please) when I say that the most miraculous thing I have ever seen is a baby’s solemn eye, so new to the world and ready to put on a cloak of assumed merriment to help us all believe the illusion; and the softest thing I have ever felt was the skin of Buck’s mother’s hands, which I held those fourteen afternoons in June when we scattered runes, interpreted dreams, and added columns hoping to believe in the plus side, while she slept and I rocked in the cornflower blue chair.

Shadow of a twisted branch in the shallow stream bed at Longleaf in February, 2013.
Shadow of a twisted branch in the shallow stream bed at Longleaf in February, 2013.

Layers of decaying leaves in the stream bed show like shells through the clear shallow water until they dissolve back into the fecund muck; twisted vines and sun-starved branches throw shadow pictures on the surface. Its feet in the water, a Florida anise tree every spring sheds scarlet fringes like ribbons. I follow them on the pulse of the lively spring, all the way into the dark heart of the eternal swamp.

Florida Anise Tree Bloom

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