I saw the Big Pool today.
And I was eleven years old.
And it was late in winter.
And I looked out of the picture window of my grand parents’ house.
You know – the house on the little hill above the little stream.
You know – the stream that wanders out of the woods.
The stream that fills the Big Pool.
The stream that disappears into the culvert that goes under the half-mile long round-smooth-worn-gravel driveway.
You know - the driveway that leads from civilization to magic; the driveway that leads to the turnaround where the Fowlers,when they visit, park their 1948 Chrysler – the one with the huge external sun visor that shields the windshield of that large navy blue hulk.
The driveway that terminates at the garage where Grandpa parks his Ford.
You know - the stream that exits the culvert into the lower reaches of the property.
The stream that drops off the property and down a dirt cliff, the place where the slope of the land has been scraped away to the level of the ground below.
The stream that feeds the alder swamp that spreads across the scraped ground below.
You know – the swamp on the school grounds.
You know - the swamp that is the home to my tadpoles.
I am glad to see the Big Pool because it is the central point of that magic place of stream, swamp, culvert, woods and driveway.
That magic place of my Grand Parents.
And today I saw it.
I was there and I was eleven.
But not really.
I wasn't there.
And it wasn’t there.
And It wasn’t then.
And I wasn’t then.
It was wherever it still may be.
It was whenever it still may be.
And I was here and now.
And the view through the slanting blinds of the bay window of the dining area was my vista today.
It wasn’t that picture window.
And I didn’t see the Big Pool.
I saw cotoneaster berries.
Deeply orange phasing toward red they were clinging tenaciously to dis-spirited looking winter twigs.
The berries each with a crystal drop hanging.
Off-color rubies and diamonds.
That was all I really saw today.
But I did see the Big Pool.
And I know why.
It was the rain
That same rain hung in gray skeins over the Big Pool that day when I was eleven.
And that rain, hanging today like ominous festoons of dark lace over the rubies and the diamonds, washed me back from now to then.
And – I saw the Big Pool today.