Gwynn Creek

My window is open to the rain. I need the rain. I won’t die without it---just wither like dry season moss, shut down to only basic metabolic essentials. Rain swells my cells, opens my pores to secrets. This morning the incessant rain might be confiding in me or just whispering the pleasant nonsense of a wet lover.

I know this tickling rain is falling on Gwynn Creek Canyon. I was there before the storm, thinking a secret awaited me. The place contains many secrets. I’m certain of this. But I was not privy to them because I did not go there alone and was without the incessant wet whisper of rain.

SpruceBark.jpg

What do they know, those huge spruce trees with broken tops and limbs the size of small trees, trunks covered with gray alligator lizard scales and fine green moss climbing toward the nesting places of Marbled Murrelets? What of those Douglas fir, beings of unutterable magnificence, daring us to stretch our short arms around trunks several hundred years in the making, brown bark carved by wavering longitudinal canyons bearing black fire scars?

The giant trees are keepers of the shady rain-fed damp, holding salamanders who hold their silent secrets close. People talk constantly, baring all of their small secrets while holding big ones close, like old trees we cannot wrap our arms around. Where is that giant Coastal Giant Salamander who made the not-so-giant gill-breathing baby living beneath a small rock in the trickling spring of collected rain, whispering incessantly over tree roots and down to Gwynn Creek?

What of Gwynn Creek herself? She talks constantly also, but not in the way we talk. She is the incessant amplified whisper of rain, speaking in gurgling riffles and small plunges and other tiny leaps of gravity-driven faith carrying her toward white surf and gray sea. She washes the flanks of nickel-bright steelhead seeking refuge from an endless ocean agnostic to the fish and their hope of fertile orange eggs placed in clean gravel clicking softly beneath thrashing tails.

And what of those people the old trees and older creek must have known, generations of incessant laughing, crying, living, dying, five bands of folks who knew secrets, kept secrets, were secrets, most not now knowable, pushed from present and future consciousness by those with no use for mystery, the new people?

I am the new people. More of them approach me on the trail, incessant talking keeping old secrets at bay, preventing new ones from forming roots washed by springs sheltering salamanders feeding a creek bathing steelhead eggs awaiting their return to the nearby sea.

©Tom A. Titus