two hours to spend at the river on a milky-sunny midwinter afternoon. what to do with my pocket of time, then? rain has been frequent - feeling like it is raining every other day here, or more often than that - and the water levels along the river banks have been high. this means piles of sticks to dig through. i love doing this, love sorting through and finding the straight and sturdy sticks that have been decorated by beavers stripping the surfaces of bark... such a lovely pattern. i carry them in a bundle the whole way back to the car. once back home, i tie them with a small bit of velvet ribbon sent all the way from finland, ribbon the color of tree bark in winter light. maybe i'll leave them standing in the corner where i stood them on end beside a table lamp; maybe i will hang them above a favorite painting, i know just the one. maybe i will drill holes in them and hang them with pearls, like rain or ice. maybe i'll dangle jewelry from them, to photograph, to display. whatever the case, i'll look at them and always remember the quiet two hours at the edge of the river, spent searching for heart rock valentines, searching for patterns in sticks, being quiet, seeing no one, loving the time there alone in the winter milky grey light with my pup.