I'm thinking water thoughts this morning, because we've had so much of it in the past few days: over six inches of rain since the last time I wrote to you. And although the trees and plants are doing their best to soak it up, the ground is saturated and the water is draining into Pecan Creek.
Pecan Creek is the name we've given to the little all-weather creek that flows through MeadowKnoll. Well, not quite all-weather. It's gone dry three times in the 20 years we've lived here, to the consternation of the red-eared slider turtles and stranded striped bass and bluegills and the great joy of Rocky Raccoon and Nostradamus, the great blue heron who lives in South Meadow.
In the photo: Long Pool and Canyon Falls (the name of the falls is sort of a joke, since it's only about a foot high). The tree to the left is Freya, one of the six bald cypress trees we planted the year we came. The creek banks are thick with ferns, Louisiana iris, cattails, goldenrod, coreopsis, and honeysuckle (an invader whose enthusiasm we try to restrain). If you'd like to see where you are, here's a map, which appeared in the Herb Quarterly several years ago. Long Pool and Canyon Falls are out of the margin to the lower right, along the edge of Lazarus Meadow--so called because when we came here, it was the home of a large mesquite tree that had obviously died and resurrected itself several times until finally it gave up the ghost for good. In its place, a young and thriving pecan tree. Life goes on, in different shapes and different species, but it does go on.
All this water (there's a lot of it just now, overflowing from the over-full lake just to the northwest of MeadowKnoll) streams south through Ripple Run, under more cypress trees and through more ferns, to Iris Pool and under the Crescent Pool footbridge, which you can see in the background of the photo below. (Click for a larger view.) From there, it flows into our neighbor's small lake, to Bear Creek, the San Gabriel River, the Brazos, and finally the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, the Brazos, not the Lower Colorado--and those of you who know your Texas rivers may be surprised. We're fairly close to the Highland Lakes along the Lower Colorado, but there's a mini-continental-divide somewhere along Route 29. The sloping lay of the land sends our surface water north and east and puts us into the thousand-mile-long Brazos River watershed. (Do you know what watershed you live in, and why it matters?)
Work notes. Bill is in New Mexico for a few days, so I've been working in the evenings. There's been a ton of conference details, and I've started a new MySpace page, at the urging of the foks at Berkley (my publisher). I'm not sure about MySpace, but a gang of mystery authors seem to hang out there, so I'm joining in. And of course, there's The Tale of Briar Bank, which is chugging right along, with better than a third of the book done. I am in love with the badgers, and I'm pretty crazy about the dragon, too. (Maybe I've missed my calling. Maybe I should be writing books about animals and fairies and dragons who live in Edwardian England and serve scones and marmalade with their tea. The "Miss Read" of the animal world!)
Reading note. It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him--J.R.R. Tolkien