Carolina Spring Postcard

The creeks here are awake.


I’ve found it easier to talk to them higher up in the watersheds. They’re fresher, less world weary.

The chub priests call one of my creeks The Transparent Serpent. They say they conjure Him into being, gathering the stones that make up His body.

The chub priests say the Serpent creates the world, and that they are trying to rebuild Him as quickly as He is devouring himself.


So male chubs busy themselves reshaping the surface of things. They aren’t wrong, not entirely.

They grow keratin spikes this time of year. The tubercles are their armor, weapons, signs of fierceness like the span of antlers on a deer.


They live upstream from the confluence of Plum Creek where the water is clear most of the time.

The Nocomis gathers rocks into a pile for his wife. He carries the stones in his mouth while the crawdads watch. His wife follows behind him, leaving eggs behind where he finished piling a layer of stones.

The current sweeps the nest and keeps the eggs clean.

Down in the creekbottom, cricket frogs and jumping spiders fling themselves into the air. Everything is excited as a kingfisher. Beech blossoms fall from the sky. Stoneflies emerge like smoke off the water.

It’s hard not to feel joy and awe, that places like this could exist anywhere. My creek flows out of Ace Speedway, a stockcar racetrack in Altmahaw.
Upstream from Plum Creek, there is a settlement of redbreast sunfish. Tangled tree roots hold a deep bowl. I count sycamore, sweetgum, holly, hornbeam, tuliptree, all of them inosculated. A gemel.


There is a kingfisher settlement downriver on the flats where the creek meets the Haw. Any fish passing from the main river to this tributary is exposed on the silt.

Upriver, the creeks must have wandered at some point. They left a low wetland that fills with Atamasco Lilies.


Fishflies are flopping all over the streambanks, soaking up the sun, the caresses from the soft leaves.


Beech blossoms pile up in the backchannels. The dewberry is flowering. Everything is.

I want to tell you about all of this, each of these things a wonder, constantly moving. I’m happily drowning in it.

Hope y’all are good!


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