Around the bend and upstream of the boulder field, there’s an old stone foundation that sits along the east bank of a strong side channel. It’s a relic of the logging boom around here, so the thick stones were cut and placed together two centuries ago. Water, earth and time have reclaimed nearly every man-made remnant in this valley, but the simple stone foundation remains. It’s a reminder that even in this remote place, tucked miles away on state forest land, these waters flow with history.
Either the ground has grown taller or the foundation has sunk into the wet earth of its shaded hollow. Dark green moss fills the widening spider web of cracks in the stone masonry, and large pieces of the structure have surrendered their hold, fallen from their intended form to be rocks again — free from the structure of a wall.
The foundation provides a perfect resting bench for observing the serenity of a forest. The stillness of standing oaks mixes with the unending flow of the river. Motion and rest. Calm respite beside flowing water as it follows a course. The timber and stones remain as the river passes along its journey. The water is both here and gone. Fixed and temporal. Present and past. It surges downstream around the undercut and out of sight. And it’s followed always by more — forever connected through adjacent molecules.
There is tranquility and stillness here — a place to do nothing but think. And that alone is valuable. Because there aren’t many places like this left in the world.
So, every time I visit this narrow valley, without fail, I make the diversion away from the stream and away from the fishing to sit on this old foundation. It’s familiar. And I know places where the stones bend just right, lending support for a good long rest. I sit here to think about whatever fills my thoughts. I sit for as long as the moment needs — until contentment creeps up to finally say, “Okay, we can move on now.”
And when the clutter is sorted, when my breaths are long and my heartbeat is steady, I rise with renewed strength and a reaffirmed peace with the world.
Because the foundation clears it all away.
Enjoy the day.
T R O U T B I T T E N