(I need to) do what I say

I am, at times, blind to my own good advice. Perhaps this is evidence of a corollary to Do as I say, not as I do?

We moved quickly from work to walking when Joanna reported that clear skies would give way to clouds. She had her snowshoes. I had my camera. She walked east. I followed the stream, north. She looked for tracks left on the slate, wiped clean by overnight snow. I looked for anything with potential.

Walking a wood demands protocol. Among other things, one must be especially careful to look closely, proceed slowly, and stop at appropriate intervals. And so it was, on this day, that I alternately barged noisily through the undergrowth and tromped carelessly along the partially frozen stream. After an hour, the frame count hadn’t budged. I caught sight of her blue coat. Shortly, and if we maintained our current trajectories, our paths would cross and we would agree to go in. I looked down. My pace slowed. I stopped. One more step and my foot would have put an end to what I had yet to enjoy. I watched as water, returning to the stream, launched from the bank and plunged into the current below. The ensuing turbulence introduced air into the mix and this collected as bubbles under a thin covering of ice. I watched as these jostled, accumulated, unable to break free of the capillary film which held them in place. Larger bubbles would, at times, crash into the group, adding to and enlarging the assemblage. Sometimes the rush of one of these provided energy sufficient to release the group. I watched as a new assemblage gathered. It grew, more, and broke free. My frame counter moved from 0 to 36 and then to 57. I stood up. We rendezvoused and agreed to tarry. She brought me to a place where the ground was folded and where water traveled among scattered rocks. I walked against the flow. A branch spanned the banks and, along with a leafy accumulation, formed a dam. Water dripped from the edge of the empondment. It had been cold and stalactites had formed along the underside of the branch. When she found me, I lay full length in the stream bed (an activity permitted only by my judicious donning of chest waders). I had to get the camera positioned at water level. I jettisoned the tripod and steadied the camera on some sticks. The frame counter moved from 57 to 78 and on to 120, 134 and to 149. I got to my knees and rose to my feet. The clouds had gathered. We made for home.


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