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Beneath the Birches

I know a little brook that has the nicest flow of water. It never gets too high or too low.

It must be because of the large beaver flow. Years ago the beavers had a nice sized damn on this brook. Fields now exist where the beaver lake once was. I say “lake” because the area is much larger than a pond.

The water is now gone except for this brook that wanders aimlessly through the old flow. I don’t think it goes more than twenty feet in any direction before it changes its mind and heads back the other way. Before it is done it has covered most of the field that it runs through. I suppose that is why this little brook never seems to flood in the spring or run dry in August. It has plenty of room to spread its wings or draw on its reserves.

I was thinking about the way it changes direction. It reminds me of some people who wander aimlessly through life; but then if there is anyone who constantly changes his mind it has to be me.

Sometimes I don’t know whether I prefer fishing or guiding. I don’t know whether I prefer laying up a stone foundation or fitting logs together for a lodge. I don’t know whether I prefer to learn things from people or learn things from nature. I don’t know if I am upset with what is happening to the Adirondacks or whether I should embrace progress.

That makes me a brother to the brook. We both meander back and forth.

But here is where I fish; beneath these old birch trees. If offers both the fish and myself a little shade. It also offers me a little solitude. I feel sorry for the fish. It offered them a little solitude also; until I showed up.

It is a restful place. Way up on the other end of the flow Old John DeBesse built his cabin and raised a few sheep. If you look real hard you can see the remnants of his fence. It was meant to keep the sheep in and the wolves out.

It didn’t work.

Old John had to get himself a big dog to do the job that the fence could not do. John had that dog trained real good. It never hurt a single sheep. It killed a few wolves before it died of old age. Lots of scars, yep, that old dog had lots of scars from the fights. Good dog though. Real friendly like. I don’t know if it had a name other than “Dog.” That’s what Old John DeBesse named it; “Dog.”

See that old fir tree half way up the flow? See how it leans sharply to the left? I have been waiting thirty years for it to fall over. Never has. Probably never will. I will probably fall over before that old fir does.

And this big rock right at the foot of the falls? There is always a big old brook trout hiding underneath it. Sometimes it bites and other times you would swear that it has gone somewhere else. But no, he is always there, just like these nice old birch trees; and me.

Lots of memories are stored away under these birches.


Tahawas and Tomosky c