Big Creek Water
Occasionally during the late afternoon, weather permitting Linda and I sit outside in front of the fireplace and watch the evening light grow dim as the sun sinks lower and lower behind the mountain. We sit there under a blue velvet cupola that is almost touchable formed by the mountains that surround us. Up in the vastness of the night sky a scattering of perfectly arranged stars punctuate the firmament, so beautifully arranged even an atheist could see the hand of God in it. We frequently have a drink, mainly because after being married for almost forty years we do not have all that many urgent things to discuss. Sometimes we light the fire; sometimes we don’t. In the summer we have gin and tonic; in the cooler months of the year I tend to prefer bourbon and branch water. Of course the branch water is not dipped from the creek in a rusty bucket as you might think but runs out of the faucet in the kitchen originating from a one hundred and fifty foot deep well below the surface close to the house.
The water honestly is amazing! When we lived in Clayton County we took the Big Creek water home in milk jugs from our well here at Big Creek on Sunday afternoon when we left for home. We drank it in Jonesboro from the refrigerator until it was finished which was usually by the middle of the week. It was wonderful to have the north Georgia well water in Jonesboro and consume it through the week. It was almost like doing something forbidden. The quality of water in Clayton County was and is very good. It originates from the Flint River and through a purification facility that has always been an example of how to do things right. There was always plenty of it. This was possible because county politics was kept out of the process when it was built and it is all the better for that. It is not however spring and rain water filtered through eons of accumulated alluvial dirt, soil, rocks and sand, sleeping in darkness deep below the surface waiting to anxiously spew up into the daylight through our faucet in the kitchen. It is an artisanal river deep below the rolling landscape gently moving somewhere down there in the darkness never seen or touched by anything or anyone until it emerges surprisingly in our kitchen.
Since we now live here at Big Creek full time the water quality issue has become somewhat routine and we no longer are so amazed when we drink down an icy cold glass of that incredible liquid. It is impossibly clear, fresh and delicious and at the same time tasteless. Drinking the water here is like hearing the truth after being told a pack of lies. Almost glacial, it awakens your taste buds and enlivens your palette. The water when added to something like Woodford Reserve Bourbon and a handful of ice is totally amazing and honestly it is not all about the alcohol. The Big Creek water is simply delightful when mixed with fresh cucumbers, grated carrots from the garden, a splash of Pernot, a slice of jalapeno, spiked with leaves from the cutting celery herb and added with basil and a dash of salt or sugar, to make an infusion of vegetable water. Served ice cold, it is one of my favorite things…..not counting the bourbon of course. Maybe I am over selling this a little; after all this is not an advertisement for Big Creek Drinking Water. Although I am sure it would be a big hit!
As we sit in the dimming landscape I see peripherally the bushes where the head of a doe silently pushes through. She looks and steps into a clearing followed by a small speckled fawn. Her eyes are black and wide as the two of them step on to the driveway as silent as underwater shadows. Neither of them disturbs even a pebble. Walking obliquely towards us, Linda and I do not make a move or a sound. The doe browses the willow, the hydrangea and the hostas. The fawn follows the doe’s example and makes diminutive withdrawals from the plants she sampled. The damage to the plants is insignificant compared to the thrill of seeing these nocturnal visitors moving towards us like silent movie stars in the fading light. Moose jerks his head up and smells the intruding pair. He snorts and jerks his head towards them. I look back in their direction and they have vanished like an apparition. It is as though they were never there and I had imagined it all.
From the far end of the garden voices drift up through the mist and into my hearing. The voices say, “Not here, I declare, barak and you did it!” I realize the voices are coming from the chickens, not humans. The chickens have their own language and most of the words begin with B or R. I know you are thinking I have perhaps had more than one gin and tonic but honestly I do hear the chickens talking down in the garden when it is very quiet like it is at dusk.
Water, night skies, stars, chickens and deer are all very small matters to discuss and I am sure no one cares one way or the other. But I do!