The neighbor’s creek roars from across the road. A night of heavy rain has brought its churning, murky waters swirling onto the pasture at the road’s edge.
Late last night I walked, warm air clouded and still, to the pools, carefully panning my light in wide arcs ahead of each slow step of my boot—hoping to find just one, woken from underground to journey home, to these pools.
Though, with each day’s approach to March, I know it is more likely I have missed them, made perfectly to match the blackest of these rainy spring nights.
This morning I returned to the dark water of little pond pool, and sat at the edge, last fall’s leaves from the small ring of young Red Maples, matted into the tangle of grasses not yet covered by the cool rising water. And stared out across the surface, like glass, reflecting white of another heavily clouded sky. Knowing there is much hidden here I will never see.
A slight ripple, and a visitor approaches, foraging in the debris beyond the toe of my spotted boot. A terrestrial crayfish, brought up out of his burrow across the yard, to this pool to feed. The scarlet tips of his claws not often seen, buried and muddied below the chimneys built in the middle of the lawn each summer, as he digs further and further into deep tunnels following retreating water.
Here, this morning, he seems to not notice I am following him--almost unable to look away as he works his way, inch by inch, around this basin, hoping to find what we both are looking for.
All enlarge to show the magnificent colors dotting his exoskeleton,
from pastel blues and greens to vibrant tones of red and orange.
In times of high water, as these areas flood, the crayfish emerge and walk or swim in puddles, retreating to the burrow, as the waters also recede.