stream crossing tactics

flood alerts stack up four deep on the weather forecast; we've had rains and rains and rains and the ground is saturated. the driveway sinks into a pool of diseased hemlock needles and winter mud, a puddle the size of several parking spaces between my front door and the bike shed.

but i know how to look at water and move to the other side. the air even smells like wet evergreen; i balance on the curb, carefully, one hand against a flexing sapling for balance. there are low spots in the puddle, places where my foot landing will push the water aside briefly, and if i move quickly enough, i can leave that void before it comes rushing back in.

my pannier throws me off balance, but not as much as when i'm carrying three days of food and shelter on my back and tiptoing my way across the surface of a creek. over the years, my feet have learned these feelings.

i reach the curb on the other side, but it's overgrown with hedges. i push through them to get to the shed; my shins get wet, but the water sloughs off my slightly waterproof pants with a few shakes.

i have to mount my bicycle in the puddle, supporting myself with one hand on a tree as one foot leaves the dry curb to reach for a pedal. it's a game i know well, too; in the winter, i try not to dismount if i can help it, because i'm safer if i'm drier.

22 February 2018 20:14

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