For several months now the well here on the farm has been misbehaving. Granted it’s over thirty years old and only about fifteen feet deep. For decades it has provided wonderful tasting water for drinking, clean water for cooking and bathing and even irrigation for our fields.
Late yesterday afternoon I turned on the shower and nothing happened. Chris drove the farm truck down to the pump house in the lower pasture to flip the switch – or jiggle the handle as he refers to it. The pump itself was hot – not so hot as to burn you but hot enough you didn’t want to leave your hand on it.
Uphill in the house I stood in my skin waiting for that gurgle of life and flow of precious water. Nothin’. Finally Chris called from the old farmhouse to tell me a shower wasn’t going to happen right now. Maybe later in the evening it would cool off and start again.
Living on a large farm has many perks. Many – including for us a creek. The week has been heavy with rains and the creek is high with rushing water in places. The landscape is lush and green – which is uncommon for early September in Oklahoma. I grabbed a towel, a sliver of soap, a cup, and my shampoo bottle, then slipped into my wellies.
The small tractor, my little Deere as I like to think of it, was parked near the house. I tried to unhitch the brush hog but it wasn’t giving way so I shoved the cotter pins back in and cranked up the engine. It starts like a dream. Pulling a lifted brush hog I drove down to the creek and scouted out places to bathe. Turns out the best spot for access was the crossing, the truck had crossed enough in recent weeks that it was the least over grown. I swung the tractor around for easy exiting and turned the engine off.
I slipped out of my shorts & t-shirt and left them on the tractor. As I walked into the undergrowth I could hear the water rushing and crashing against rocks. People think it’s quiet in the country – but it’s just a different kind of loud. My skin prickled with goose-flesh as I looked around me. It was beautiful! There was a thick mist hanging just above the surface of the water. I waded in to test the depth, two steps and it came to the top of my wellies. That meant the rushing water a few yards down could be waste deep – and the swimming hole would be over my head if I could manage to reach it through the overgrowth.
I crunched down the gravely shore avoiding overgrown weeds and sapling trees for a few dozen yards then left my towel and wellies on the shore and walked into the mist – and cold water. On the other side of the creek a racket of noise sounded as something was startled by my presence. It was a large animal by the sounds – probably a deer or beaver, maybe a wild pig. I was concentrating on my footing and didn’t see the beast. Thoughts of Dian Fossey and gorillas flashed through my mind, but quickly exited. I stood – clad only in my skin – and looked around. “We are the luckiest people on earth to live here!” I thought again as I took in my surroundings. As I bathed with my favorite soap I felt as if I had been granted a glimpse of a primeval watering spot.
A pump repairman should be on the farm by noon – but I think I’ll be bathing in the mist again tonight….
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