Sunday, August 21, 2016

In Search of the Stone Heart

About 6-7 years ago we had a drought here and the brook in the ravine behind our house dried up. One autumn day Kelly and I were in the back yard with our tuxedo cat, Diego (he died suddenly at age 5 in November 2011). Kelly had remarked about the odd oval acorns that were dropping from the oak trees, so I had grabbed the 35mm digital camera and was shooting pictures of the strange acorns, the colorful leaves, and Diego who was rolling around on the path leading down to the brook.

Because the cat liked to take walks in the woods with us we decided to hike up the dry brook bed with him, so down the ravine we climbed and then jumped into the brook bed and began hiking north. Diego thought he was the greatest explorer, so I was shooting pictures of him standing on shale rocks, leaping onto the trunks of fallen trees and posing. I was shooting other pictures of autumn leaves, the rocks and leaves littering the brook bed, odd trees.

We hiked the distance of about four backyards north before Diego got bored with the brook and headed toward the dirt trails we usually hiked on the far side of the brook. We continued our walk and headed south on the trails, coming out at the gated area of the access road to the cable TV tower and cellphone tower, then walking two houses north to our driveway.

I downloaded the pictures and that's when I found the heart of stone in one of the pictures. I didn't remember seeing a heart-shaped stone, but there it was dead center in the pictures surrounded by bright yellow leaves and scattered shale rocks. It was one of the best pictures I'd taken during our hike.

Well...before we had a chance to take another hike to find the heart of stone and bring it home it rained, the brook refilled and though we hiked later on in the winter and broke ice floes with walking sticks to try to locate the stone we never found it.

A number of years have passed but the brook has been full. We've had a blizzard that downed some additional tress across the broke, and the brook was turbulent with all that snow melted. At one point the brook was so swollen and moving so fast it washed away our three railroad tie footbridge across the brook, tumbling it down stream like matchsticks! Those railroad ties were heavy!

So, my husband has been thinking about that stone lately. Today when we got home from his sister's second wedding he said he wanted to hike up the brook bed and try to find the stone. So, we all put on long pants, long-sleeved shirts, hats and boots and grabbed hiking sticks. Down the embankment we went and we jumped into the brook bed. We have had some rain off and on so the bottom of the bed was slick in places with mud but there was no water in the brook.

We hiked north to the area where I though the heart stone would be- but we didn't find it. I found three other vaguely heart-shaped rocks and brought them home, but we did not find the one in the photograph.

Tonight I went through the photo files on the computer and found the series of pictures I shot that day years ago and made a photographic map of sorts, documenting the landmarks Kelly, Diego and I had passed, including the shots immediately before and after the heart stone photo. I probably should have done this before we went out today.

Now, at least, we have a sort of map to where the stone lies.

Unfortunately we're getting some heavy rain tonight, but I don't think it'll fill the brook, so maybe in a few days we'll have another shot at finding the heart of stone?

We'll see.

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