The old mill refused to be found.
I just couldn’t imagine where it had gone, with it’s beautiful stone structure and huge length of terra cotta pipe stretching out over Carr’s Pond in West Greenwich.
I’d set out to hike around the pond just like I remembered doing with Rick last fall. He’d been there many times before. I’d been there once long ago, arriving in the back of a bouncy pick-up with Dude the Doberman. Good friends Barbara occupying the passenger seat and Joe the driver up front. We celebrated nothing, running half-lucid, skinny dipping under a half-moon, full-out laughter the only sound. Riding home over cracked gravel under the stars, whole in our youth.
But I digress. Yesterday I couldn’t find the mill. Accompanied by friend, Charlie, his mini-schnauzer Harry and my hound, Red we set out.
In a rare instance, I deliberately left my phone in the car, my camera at home. Charlie’s battery died early on due to the cold, so we didn’t have an M.A.P. No big deal. You make a loop starting with the pond on your left then keep it to your left. How hard can finding one huge red pipe over a small pond be?
What we did find were towering pines. We tread over soft, thick, red needled carpets. Admired rock formations, variations of lush green moss teeming with life. We found a light wind rippling gently over the surface at the center of that half-frozen body of water. Skipping silver reflections. Blue melting into pale yellow into green back to yellow.
At the warmest corner, a soft plop into the water off a floating chunk of deadwood. The first turtle? And again. Yes. The first two.
Lichen, misshapen, broken, growing?
A skim of clear ice along the edge of the pond. Peripheral mini-ponds where a certain retriever fell through up to his tummy, shook it off. No worse for the wear.
We were more than surprised by a fresh and bloody coyote deer kill. Rib cage splayed in the air from which said hound retrieved a dripping, meaty scapula. No worse for the wear.
My friend and I walked into the woods. I to find a mill, both of us to commune with nature’s beauty. I haven’t found the mill, yet.
As it turns out we hiked around Tarbox Pond, almost adjacent to Carr’s and just as lovely. I discovered a curiosity for deer, coyote, both ponds, water authorities, local history and lichen along this rigorous walk.
I also found short and long forgotten memories. My own reflection on the beauty and brutality of predatory survival.
Air, water, color, texture of purity beyond compare in our little state.
Intense unease and the serenity of the angle only February offers from the sun.
I found that after all this time, blood sweat and tears I still love nature, hiking, curiosity and good company.
I am thankful for the steps which led me there. For both, the clarity and the blur.