Kelly DuMar

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Birch Bark in Brook

Charles River

Freshly fallen snow over the river and woods. We walk early, the dogs and I, and the morning air is cheerfully fresh, I breathe so deeply this lovely air, I'm so glad to be outdoors with my dogs and moving my body. We pass the frosted river and I am looking and looking for some special sight to catch my eye. We come to a brook and there is no ice, as there was when I left weeks ago. The wind has torn bark from trees and blown bits into the swelling brook. The birch bark is exactly what I want, but why, why is this what makes me so happy this morning? What appeals to me? It's an intuitive attraction, from association, I suppose. Birch, from a poem I have always loved by Frost - "one could do worse than be a swinger of birches." So, birch is a swing for a child on a tree, bark is the papery white sheets we liked to play with as girls, pretending to write notes from our imaginary pioneer lives. Birch, in the brook, the brook, a watery place of transformation, organic. A place where trees come apart, return to soil, there is renewal, always renewal. This brook a place I go to think my own thoughts in quiet, with the dogs lapping a drink, and the birds in the trees, brief songs. Bark, skin, my skin. I am in my own skin, at the edge of this brook in the woods where I belong. Then, home. And some writing on my essay. Writing, for real, on paper, not bark. 

All photos and text copyright Kelly DuMar 2018