All Photographs + Text Copyright 2013 Christopher Keeley

The Horseshoe

This morning I was awakened by the noise of a crying child. I thought maybe someone was changing a baby at the dam. I thought who in the hell has a baby up here, on our property, at 5:30 in the morning? Then it occurred to me that it must have been the continuous shrill of a wild Merganser duck swimming, splashing, or flying downstream screaming at dawn. It couldnŐt have been Merle the cockatoo. I truly thought it was someoneŐs child. Looking out the window I could see that itŐs raining and how even in the rain the Catskill Mountains are more magnificent and beautiful than ever. I can stare for hours, looking at our barn and the mist behind it. Do I want to unpack my view field camera and photograph the barn in the mist for the hundredth time? I am so drawn to the barn. I photographed it yesterday at dusk.

Yesterday I became obsessed with building a rock dam in the pool of our pool digger. I played in the stream for three hours. I have completely given up my fear and phobia of the cold water. Now I am no longer avoiding or even at all intimidated by the ice-cold water. In fact itŐs so refreshing that I am contemplating swimming in the rain. My biggest fear is being electrocuted by the electrical storm. The lights have gone on and off three times in the house in a matter of minutes. All I can think about is when am I going back into the stream for a burst of a snappy wake-up rush. I found an old, rusty, odd shaped horseshoe in the dam. I am thinking that this horseshoe has got to be from the 1800Ős but then figured it most likely came from the 1930Ős when the dam was first built.

I am making the pool like a natural cold spring tub. ItŐs got its own jet stream with an amazing turbulent whirlpool in the middle that sucks you back into the waterfall churning over the top of the dam. The fun part is when the bursts of water massage my back and head. I am attempting to move all the big stones that I can manage to the dam I have built. ItŐs an endless job. I will take the horseshoe to work for good luck, as I am very superstitious. Also a butterfly fell into my coffee that I never drank. I dig up the grass that has covered the stream stone walkway to the house, which reveals huge stones and makes the pathway to the house so much more enticing. I put up an American flag on the front porch, celebrating the Fourth of July. I have changed so much since my rebellious youth, when I would have hung it upside down inside out to express my rebellion and disgust with the current Administration, but I am even more patriotic than ever.

As I am taking a nap, Merle the Cockatoo, sneaks off the cage. When I awake I discover Merle on the living room table looking innocent. He has managed to chew every red knob on every T.V. remote in every home that he has come across. He has a thing for hair ties too. Looking out the living room window quickly distracts me and I see a deer with a baby fawn in the stream, nibbling on some fresh summer leaves off a tree hanging over the stream. The little fawn is the smallest spotted fawn I have ever seen, about a foot long, trailing behind the doe. The doe then licks the little fawn all over, nudging it a bit. I soon forgive Merle for being the sneaky devil that he is. I check to see if itŐs still drizzling. The fawn and doe have now gone over the bank.

I go swimming in the drizzle and realize what a paradise this is. I had burned my hand cooking breakfast, so I am relieving the pain by immersing my hand in the ice-cold stream. ItŐs very refreshing and fun swimming in the mist. As the rain stops I witness two miraculous Merganser ducks swimming idly downstream above the dam. This is right after the rain, and itŐs as if they own the stream. Squawking as they go down stream. They gracefully manage to go over the dam without any hesitancy.

I am amazed at all the natural beauty and wonderful creatures that have happened my way, by chance and good fortune. As I look up at the barn I see two very large wild turkeys stretching their wings. They are munching on something that has been given to them by the morning rain. All these wild animals are oblivious of my presence and I am wondering if I should invest in a pair of field binoculars. The sun is shining and I am wondering if I should swim one more time in the dam pool before heading back to Washington.

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