The Cutbank and the Tree

16ca2925The days are short now. At 4 pm in the afternoon, the light fades fast and this is what it looks like. I was fascinated by the old cottonwood tree hanging on for its life. Hidden in the trees just beyond it is a cabin in the woods.

Six years ago, Lindsay and I visited this very spot, only back then the bank was a good 50 yards further to the right where today only the river flows. Old Simon, an elder of the village, once told me stories about how the rivers have re-sculpted this land over and over and how people once lived in warm cabins where now only fish swim.

I thought Simon must have exaggerated his stories. I confess, I wasn’t wholly convinced of the power of a river to so dramatically alter the face of the earth in the lifetime of just one man. But Simon was right, and this place is the proof. I am awestruck by the magnitude of the river’s irrepressible impact upon the land. So much change, in only six years!

Next May the Porcupine will break as it always does, impatient to chart a new course to its end, and its currents will pulse with a beat which the earth cannot meet.

I expect the old tree will not survive the coming spring, nor the cabin. Perhaps when they are gone their memories will remain swirling in the eddies of time.

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