The brook and the steep climb down
The brook that I discovered on the land that was to become the site of our new home is worth special mention. I first visited this site by myself, without my wife Michelle. I looked across and appreciated the magnificent long view. I walked through the woods to further assess the property. Then, I went down the steep hill to the flat area below. There, I found a small creek. I walked upstream a little ways, and suddenly the creek transformed into a beautiful brook before my eyes.
I appreciate the geology of the site. There are stones that look like they formed from sediment on the bottom of a lake. They were then pressed upward, broken, and turned up on edge, as the terrain bent and eroded over probably millions of years. The result is an obstruction to the regular flow of the brook, where it must twist tortuously through the stones, dropping a foot here and another foot there, until it can once again travel mostly unimpeded.
Having seen this, as well as all the rest, I knew that this was the right place for us. I took photos, I described it and showed them to Michelle, and she agreed — having not yet seen it herself. You see, as you’ll find elsewhere on this blog, Michelle has lost 200 pounds from her highest weight. And this was before that. She wasn’t “in to” climbing up and down hills [yet]. But I said, “We can’t buy the land before you’ve even seen the brook. You’ve seen the level parts, but you haven’t seen the best part.” So I convinced her to make the 45 degree steep journey down the hill. It was scary for her. There were briars and sticks and holes, oh my! But she gathered her will power, and held onto my hand for dear life, and ventured into the unknown and down the hill. She too, then went on the walk of discovery up stream toward the “place”. And when she got there, she too knew that this was it.
Fortunately, since that time, we’ve found a much less steep, beautifully circuitous route to the place. It goes past mountain laurel trees, old large hollow stumps, and azalea bushes. After a fresh rain, you can hear the brook from the top of the hill. But otherwise, you don’t begin hear it until you’ve entered into the woods and gone down the path a little. As you go deeper and deeper this recess in the earth, you begin to hear it. The further you go, the more you hear. Anticipation builds. At one point, you can catch a glimpse of the brook, and you realize you’re actually travelling parallel to it, but 50 foot above it and off to the side. Eventually, this circuitous route straightens out and then levels. You turn, and find yourself in a forest of mountain laurel trees. When they’re all blooming, it’s wondrous. In places, you have to actually squeeze between the blooming branches to get through. Then it opens up and you get the view of the place, the wonderful brook, the namesake of our home: Laurel Brook Lodge.