Thursday, August 30, 2012

August 30: Finding water

Family legend has it that my great-great-aunt Gladys (no longer with us but whom I remember fondly from childhood) was a dowser. She was one of those people who used a split branch of (usually) witch-hazel to find water. If you needed to dig a well, Aunt Glad was the one to call. She had the inner sense--one might even call it a power--to divine where the water was. I was always a bit disappointed that I didn't inherit the ability.

I was thinking of this when I heard the osprey keening this morning. We live on a river and often hear an osprey as it's following the water's course between lake and harbor. I realized that while I might not be able to help anyone plan where to drill their well, I do know how to tell when I'm close to a larger body of surface water: I just listen for the osprey.

Around here that's a no-brainer, but once years ago, hiking in the Cascades of Oregon, I remember being startled to hear an osprey crying overhead. I was surrounded by forest of Douglas firs on a trail that seemed to wind endlessly through the mountains. The shining white bird seemed so out of place in the setting that I worried I had heatstroke and was hallucinating an angel. But sure enough, the trail very soon began to follow the shore of a small lake--I should have realized the osprey was there for a reason.

There's a river out here,
reminds the osprey.
Come outside.

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