Shanty Bottom Brook, Adirondacks, NY. I am following a trail in the Pharoah Wilderness that starts several miles up a well graded back road. It's been raining all day, but that weather seems to have spent itself, with some of the gloom lifting as the system moves out. I tend to internalize when I am just walking in the understory. There's too much information, too many trees, too much vegetation to take all of it in. Focused on a destination, the mind thinks about the trail ahead and what has to be pushed through to reach the end. Concentrate on respiration, and burning leg muscles. After roughly following the main brook for awhile, I stumble into a clearing where a tributary comes in. The canopy is more open where they meet, and I feel like I can breathe again. My focus returns, and I begin to see with more clarity. It is a gentle stream. The cut through the forest is shallow, the boulder debris old. and thick with moss. You can tell this brook does not flood often, the water here does not rage or gouge a canyon through the folds of the wood. A soft light has been invading the damp air, and as I watch, low angle shafts of light follow the ridge line, almost into the sanctuary. So much of this pursuit revolves around openings. Holes in schedules, days without demands, whims of weather, and the clearing of your mind. I don’t know if nature expends effort or relies on fate when making these oases, any more than we expend effort or rely on fate to let ourselves find them. Perhaps it’s a bit of both.