“Our stream will flow again, Willow,” papa
Promised, pipe puffing. “Hard winter for
Island crofters, hearth fires, cooking pot,
Ice melting, first few bubbles for morning
Tea, stirabout. Slow-ticking clock, we awaited
Winter’s end, spring thaw, cold, darkness
Giving way to warming days, sun’s eye-
Shunning first fiery light.

Hillsides we climbed, our stream once flowing
From ancient stone face. “We are not the first
Visiting this fount,” he advised, breath-catching
On frozen heights. With broad axe, he pointed
To rune rock-carvings, ancient accounts we
Could not read, but as Hebridean islanders
Understood: we revered life’s age-old mysteries
On seafaring outer isles. 

By axe blows, papa chopped away at stream-
Clogging ice, like boiling pot, first few
Steaming bubbles broke free, ushering thin
Clear stream. Upon water-slickened stones,
Papa knelt, first cold sips, sweet tasting,
Solemn moments, eyes-closed, he prayed,
Fingers runes touching, voiceless words
Connecting with time-shrouded past.

As water followed our footsteps down rock-
rambling heights, we shared few words, until
Papa broke silence, “Have you ever taken
Animal paths across fields of winter-fallen
Wheat?” Low-angled sun course revealed, oft
Meandering, never straight, yet ever faithful
Were hoof and foot alike. “Lessons of island
Life,” he advised, “unexpected twists and turns.”    

Thanks for reading. 

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