We set out into a damp gray morning, walking with careful steps as the saturated earth squished beneath our weight, attempting to pull boots free of feet. The snow had finally relented enough to allow travel down our trail. Although, cloaked in ice these many months, everything seemed somehow shifted and different. I stopped mid stride to get my bearings and assure we were on the right path, as silly as this seemed having traveled it many times before. A quick glance to the south revealed the tops of the giant white pines that have marked the border of this land for nearly two centuries. Thick dark clouds blew quickly past the wooden sentinels and showed little hope of breaking or making way for the Sun. Undeterred, we continued, following the water as it ran east falling away with the slope of the land.
Clear and cold and plentiful, the water filled each and every hole in its path to the very brim before spilling over and down to the next low spot to repeat the process. It never stops, I thought, marveling at the elemental journey of the liquid at my feet.
As I held Harper's hand to wade through a particularly deep puddle, my mind focused back to my own steps on this ground. His two year old fingers gripping mine and then releasing to amble with confidence through the mud and around the rocks. It seemed only moments ago I was holding his newborn body against my skin for the very first time and wondering who he may turn out to be. Cradling him easily with one hand as he slept, I could examine his tiny features and amaze at their perfection. Here he was, moving happily across the land before me. When he reached an obstacle too large for his size to navigate he would simply pivot and hold up his arms for Papa to lift him across. This happened without words but made me smile each time.
Walking with Ezra and patiently listening to his many observations of that morning, I could tell that Amanda was happy to be out. Surrounded by water and trees, walking with her family, following her own path. Reminded by her back and legs, with each step, that she carries another baby with her today. A baby that will join us soon. A baby that will also prepare for a trail such as this. A baby that, for now, is felt and anticipated and loved but unseen.
Eventually, the slope of the land eases and the water is deeper here. The old cedar foot bridge is in need of repair and sits covered in snow. We stop here and decide this is far enough for today. We sit and watch the water for a few minutes and listen to the forest sounds. I stare into the pool to see a small current still visible, pulled by gravity toward the lake almost a mile away. In the middle of a journey with no beginning and no end.