I walked a bit, following a typical slough found up in these forests, connecting one pond or lake to another barely lower, but gravitational nevertheless. The greening sprouts through the mesh of last year’s dead grasses, but trees are not ready to announce yet this far north. It could as easily be late autumn. It’s as common to find the same soft late afternoon light warming the distance in May as it is in November. My mood does not reflect the quickening of spring, but is barren, with my ugliness exposed. Which would I be, the stream or the broken tree? The tree, I decide. My roots were deep, but not strong enough that I couldn’t be broken in time. I was solid, complementing the morphing nature of water. This water is deep, tinged with forest tea, slow almost to stillness, as dark as my soul these last few days. That, I think, is more like her, a river bank away, hard to read, fluid, timeless. But I had a lifespan. Nurtured and fed by her aquifer, maybe I shaded her, maybe I protected her. I wonder if she loved me the way I did her. It would be tempting to change those roles, to opt for the immortality. But, of course, we can’t choose what we will be before we are. And so I wish for the water an endless run, and I wonder if fate’s reward was the tree in the water, a last embrace.