From Otto Wilhelm Thomé, "Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz." 1885, Gera, Germany, via Biblio.
The log in the middle of the creek doesn’t seem firmly seated; neither am I, leaning out over loose rolling gravel for a better idea of how to cross. There’s the balance point: a place where the shadow beneath the broken trunk underlines the soggy bark, scribes the creek-bed. No gap, but it’s off-center enough to need me to be light-footed, a barefoot dancer on what’d pivot and throw me. I don’t trust my body, don’t trust that I can be single-minded enough to commit with sufficient speed and grace. I waver then wind moves the cane nearby, telling me how it could be done: first, cut a stalk almost twice my height, tie my shoes to it. Then take off my socks, put them in my shoes, step up and, balance pole low and in hand, let bare feet read the bark while I keep my gaze moving from horizon to log and back. My shadow is an elongated asterisk on the water below as I find my footing, one step after an unsteady other, until I look down and see I’ve finally crossed.