And through thick woods one finds a stream astray
So secret that the very sky seems small...
– G K Chesterton
In 2009 I was working in a dull grey cubicle, in a dull grey office, in a dull grey office park. And I was very bored.
After a few months, on my lunch break, I was walking along the grass verge beside the car park. The verge was neatly mown, but beyond its edge there was unkempt woodland.
So I began to wonder about the woodland. As far as I could tell, it had grown up by itself because nobody was looking after the land. I determined to explore, next lunchbreak.
I had to fight my way through the overgrowth at first. My path was blocked by brambles and plenty of poison ivy; fortunately, I’m immune. But after only a minute or so, I couldn’t see the office park any more. There was nothing but me, the trees, and the sky.
I came back every day to explore. Soon I discovered an almost dry streambed, which led me to a stream. I don’t know whether it has a name, but I named it Teg. (That means “beautiful” in Welsh.)
Every lunchbreak from then on, I’d come down and sit by the stream to eat my lunch. It was the most peaceful place I knew, and it almost made that job worthwhile. I never saw another human there. Sometimes, when I was sure nobody else came down to the stream, I used to bathe in it.A few months later, when I was offered a better job, I left with no regrets– except for my river. About half a mile downstream, there’s a road bridge that crosses the stream for a moment, though you’d never notice it unless you knew to look. As I crossed the bridge on my last journey home, and said goodbye to the Teg for the last time, a bright white egret stood drinking from the stream. He saw me, and flew away.