poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘brook

crossing the brook

with 10 comments

Of all kinds of waterways, I certainly love a brook the best.




When I was a child, I spent many summer hours playing in the brook at my mother’s ‘old home place’.  The brook was in a small wooded valley between farms.  The woods around the brook were always cool and shady, especially on a hot summer day.


Building stone causeways in the brook was one of my favorite pastimes.  I would find flat stones and place them like stepping stones.  Then, once the stones were in place, I would plant them with mosses.


I haven’t returned to the brook for many years, but I like to think you could still find the grey and green remnants of my causeways at intervals along the brook!



a brook in south-west New Brunswick with its own stepping stones


construction of moss and stone


in the valley between farms

a brook needs crossing

a freshet-proof ford

lattice-work built

of slate, grey stepping

stones, packed and decked with

moss, hydrophilic flourish



©  Jane Tims  2014


Written by jane tims

October 17, 2014 at 3:32 pm

along a stream 7-26

with 2 comments


7-26 journal


7-26 map

map showing distance travelled (map from Google Earth)


One of the difficulties of a virtual trip using Street View is not getting a full view of some of the streams I cross.  Until you reach the ‘bridge’, the angle is not right to see the water.  When you are on the ‘bridge’, the view is obscured by the blurred curved area in the lower part of the view, a characteristic of the Street View camera.


Today, however, I caught several glimpses of a stream that followed the road from Manassick Wood to Portholland …


7-26 stream

stream along the road near Manassick Wood (image from Street View)


I even had a glimpse of a small waterfall created by a tributary to the stream …


7-26 waterfall

course of a waterfall … almost dry in this image, but during and after a rain, it must be lovely (image from Street View)


The best look I had at the stream was after it emerged from the woods to a field of white flowers.  The flowers look a little like Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota), with white, umbrella-shaped flower clusters.  However, these plants look more robust than the rather delicate-looking Queen Anne’s Lace, so I will just call them a species of wild parsnip.


7-26 brook 2

stream banked by white flowers (image from Street View)


Best View:  ‘biking’ from the woods into the bright sunshine and seeing the stream meandering toward the sea, banks overflowing with white flowers …


August 25, 2013  'valley to the sea (Portholland)'  Jane Tims

August 25, 2013 ‘valley to the sea (Portholland)’ Jane Tims


This is the view that inspired the painting …


7-26 valley white flowers

valley with stream and white flowers, looking towards Portholland (image from Street View)


Copyright  2013   Jane Tims

ponds and pond lilies

with 12 comments

Water is a favorite feature of the landscape for many people.  On our drives we encounter streams and rivers, lakes and ponds.  Thoreau, writing about his Walden Pond, said that water features are the eyes of the landscape.  Reflected in those eyes are sky and clouds and the dazzle of the sunlight.

‘A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature.
It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.
The fluviatile trees next the shore are the slender eyelashes which fringe it,
and the wooded hills and cliffs around are its overhanging brows.’ 
Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

This time of year, pond vegetation is lush and in bloom.  Some ponds and wetland waters are alwost covered by Duckweed (Lemna minor L.), Pickerel-weed (Pontederia cordata L.) and Pond-lilies.

Pond lilies are in bloom and their flat pad-like leaves cover the water like pieces of a puzzle.  White Water-lilies, Nymphaea odorata Ait., speckle the edge of almost every pond…

and the yellow cup-like blooms of Cow-lily (Nuphar variegatum Engelm.) brighten the sluggish waters of meandering brooks and wetland ponds…

Last week we drove to South Oromocto Lake in Charlotte County and stopped beside the lake outlet where there is a dam, including a water control structure and a fish ladder.  The long, red stems of up-rooted Water-shield (Brasenia Schreberi Gmel.) were gathered in tangles at the control structure.

the red stems and green leaves of up-rooted Water-shield, gathered in the dam at the outlet of South Oromocto Lake

Do you have Pond-lilies and Water-shield where you are?


Copyright  Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

August 31, 2012 at 7:22 am

snippets of landscape – ice falls on rock walls

with 14 comments

When highways are built, they often cut through the bedrock, leaving rock walls along the margins of the road.  If these intersect a brook or seep of water, the result is a waterfall on the face of the rock.  In spring or summer, rains can create wild cataracts.  In winter the water freezes, building frozen walls of blue-shadowed ice.  In sunlight, especially when they begin to melt, these ice falls are dazzling.



one warm hand


icicles seep between

layers of rock frozen

curtains separate

inner room from winter storm

glass barrier between blue

light and sheltered eyes

memory of water flows

along the face of the rock

one warm hand melts ice

consolation, condensation

on the inward glass



© Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

March 10, 2012 at 7:43 am

refections on the water

with 2 comments

I have realised there is a sequence to the vanishing of the autumn colour. 

First the maples lose their leaves in the early autumn winds.  The next will be the poplars, now glowing with banana colours. The oak leaves, ruddy and slick with reds and oranges, will succumb by late October.  Tamarack, a deciduous conifer, will lose its amber needles in early November. The beech trees will keep their ochre, papery leaves all through the winter, finally losing them in spring when the new leaves emerge.

This past weekend, we found some maples still in autumn garb.  At Watty Brook, flowing into McDougall Lake in south-west New Brunswick, at least one maple has taken longer than most to lose its leaves.  At its sheltered location in the low valley of the brook, the tree has eluded the winds.   It was reflected clearly in the brook, and its orange and gold were captured in the rocks showing through the tea-coloured water.

  In spite of the movement of the water, the tree was reflected in all its splender.


in the millstream



deer are drinking

and the raindrops

swell the running

this I know

from bubbles



I am a rock

in the millstream

seasons and freshets 

have smoothed

my edges


once I met the water

a cleaver


now I ask the water

to flow

around me


© Jane Tims 2003

Written by jane tims

October 22, 2011 at 6:31 am

pool at the base of the waterfall

with 6 comments

Have you ever had trout nibble at your toes?

When I was a teenager, my family was fortunate to own a woods property with a brook and a substantial waterfall.  We had a cabin there, built by my Dad.

The brook was wide and shallow, running through mixed woods.  It was a torrent in the spring, but in summer it ran gently through the trees, bordered by mossy hummocks, accented with small pools and riffles.

I remember the first time I saw the waterfall.  We were looking for a woods property and a farmer offered to show us some of his land.  I was exploring a particular area, following the bank of the stream, when I first heard the roar of the falls and saw the bright froth of water through the trees.  I couldn’t believe it when the owner said, without hesitation, we could have that lot for our cabin.

The falls were substantial, spilling about 15 feet over a dip in the shale substrate.  They spread outward from the lip of the falls, creating a broad triangle of white, laid across the rock like a veil.  The roar of the water falling was constant and intense.

'waterfall and pool'

At the base of the waterfall was a pool, waist deep.  The water was headache cold, but once we became used to it, we could swim and cool off on a summer day.  The pool was transparent as glass, and we could look down and watch the trout nibbling at our toes.  In spite of the dramatic turn of my poem below, the trout were not voracious and their nibbles were butterfly kisses.






mist and mosses

colour the air

where the waterfall leaps

green in the mumble of water


I stand waist deep

in the fall-fed pool

bubbles cling to my legs

to the hairs on the back of my knee


droplets of air above water are nothing




the soles of my feet

slide on the slate

search for softer

pockets of sand


trout kiss my ankles


I try to see

but the surface is silver

a dome reflected

of maple and sky




a green leaf settles

a pine needle spins

striders press dents on the water




I need to see the trout

I bend my face to the water

press on the skin

push through the meniscus


my nose is severed from my face




I am the pond


I cannot move

I cannot breathe

my hands are numb

my heart squeezes within me


I cannot believe

the trout have taken

great gashes of leg

my toes are slashed by the slate


I look up through the water

its surface a circle of silver




fish gnaw at my toes

bubbles grate at the back of my knee

tears under water are nothing



© Jane Tims 1992

Written by jane tims

September 27, 2011 at 8:34 am

autumn along the brook

with 10 comments

Behind our house, in the grey woods, is a narrow little brook.  It is not much to look at but I like its simplicity.  This brook has steep sides (a cross-section like a ‘U’) and grassy banks, and it creates charming little riffles over fallen logs.  Until this moment, I have never realised … we have not given this brook a name!


I walked to the brook last Monday evening, to see how high the water was and to look for signs of the changing season. 

Autumn is showing its color everywhere.  Some of the ferns have turned yellow with the first frost…

There are fallen red maple leaves on the trail and in the brook…    

And the berries of Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis L.) are brilliant red…

                                                                                            ‘red berries’                                                                                                               


end of summer


on the path along the brook

one leaf bleeds into water

in town the walks are stony

chaff of linden, seeds 

dry ditches overflow with flowers


I shrug

(no matter

summer is ended)


yellow rattle

pods and grasses

rehearse an incantation 

wind sulks in corners of the shed

warmth and sun

paint the orange of pumpkins

knit winter mittens


I gather signs of autumn

asters, windfalls, flocks of red wings

frantic in the alders

acorns, hollow galls from oak


Orion peeks above the trees

time forgotten, found

and summer with rain never ends


I ask for rain

(arms loaded with everlasting)


© Jane Tims 2010

'oak leaves and acorns'

Written by jane tims

September 19, 2011 at 7:57 am

a woodland stream in southern Alberta

with 2 comments

When we were children, living in Alberta, Mom and Dad took us for drives on the weekends.  Usually, we explored the prairie roads or the landscape of the South Saskatchewan River.  Sometimes, though, we sought the wooded areas of southern Alberta. 

A place we visited more than once was a small wooded stream in the Cypress Hills.  We called it ‘Greyburn Gap’, probably after the nearby community of Greyburn’s Gap.  The site had a picnic table and shelter, woods to explore, and the little stream. 

The Cypress Hills area is an eroded plateau, rising above the Alberta and Saskatchewan prairies.  It was left unglaciated during the last ice age and has a flora and fauna much different than the surrounding prairie.  Part of the Cypress Hills is protected as the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.

Elkwater Lake and the wooded landscape of the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park as they appeared in 1967

My parents were raised in Nova Scotia and were accustomed to the forests of the Atlantic Provinces.   The Cypress Hills, and the woods of Elkwater Lake, where we had a cabin, must have helped them feel more at home in Alberta. 

mixed woods of Elkwater Lake area (2002)

our cabin at Elkwater Lake (1967)


Greyburn Gap, Alberta


I remember    a brook threaded through the trees like string   

black water in the gap between gossamer and fern

a fence to mark its moving   a fallen fir

to tangle its water    our hands

trailing in the eddy


a jug of root beer   sunk to the neck   to move the brook’s cold shiver

into our summer bodies



 © Jane Tims, 2011

Written by jane tims

August 24, 2011 at 8:04 am

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