There are many stages along the stream of life – some boisterous and exciting, others still and reflective, and others where it feels like we’ve dried up completely. In the Dell at Kirstenbosch where I spent my nature solo recently, there’s a place where the stream disappears underground. Yet, despite its course being marked only by dry leaves, the water continues to do its work of refreshing the huge trees and delicate ferns that create this peaceful place. So too with us – even in those times when our contribution feels unseen and unacknowledged, it is still having an effect. Trust that.
Fallen leaves and rotting figs –
a sweet-and-sour space;
stream drains to the underworld,
dry mulch fills your course.
Upstream the reflection pond
mirrors fern and face,
downstream you emerge again
to soothe us with your grace.
But here your presence quieted –
no foam or flash or flow;
you seep beneath the slippery stones
through the spongy world below.
Unseen, unheard, unrecognised –
you quench the roots and seeds
that grow to shade this leafy dell
that leaves my soul replete.