Winter runs off into spring. Thunder-splash as the serene still pond shoulderse into the canal and plummets over abrupt cliffs. All thought drowned out to the music of water crashing into a tidy stream.

But it doesn’t even out for a distance. Instead, the rush continues along the throat of the river until the fingers of the banks on either side calm the flow into steady on forward.

A river never really ends. It shortens and falls, grows bigger with snow melt, then narrows once again in the thick of summer.

We know this familiar story. It comes again and again, like a toddler at bedtime choosing the same books. But each time, the words alight in different ways and the cadence of the mother’s voice is never similar, only familiar.

I’ve walked the flowering paths of spring so many times. I’ve basked in the glow of summer twilight and bare shoulders against the scratchy grass. I’ve huddled into the folds of autumn color as if it happened only once and every winter, I marvel at the snowfall as it comes down.

Soon, asparagus stalks will spear the air and ask for picking. Soon, morels will sprout around moldy old tree trunks. Soon, the schoolhouse doors will open wide like the throat of the river as it becomes a full-on lake and the children will pour out in abandon and ecstasy toward the endless summer.

But now. This moment. The scent of dirt paths and the call of waking birds. A murky pond gulps with the life blooming beneath its surface. The rumble and shudder of trucks come to placate the lawn.

I sit in the silence and caress its fingers. Last summer Dog Mountain, this summer an unnamed path, equally beautiful, offering inspiration new and imagined.

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