It snowed, nearly a foot on October 26. The combination of trees pulling up less ground water after freezing weather came, plus the melting snow, started the creek running again. On Halloween night, M. and I were walking the dogs before bed, and we heard a gurgle in the creek bed. Slowly, rock by rock, tiny pool by tiny pool, it was coming back.
By yesterday, the flow had increased. While everything in the shrine was natural (rocks) or biodegradable (turkey feathers, etc.), I thought that I should retrieve the glass jar for the votive candles, before it washed away, broke, and became litter. So I pulled on a pair of rubber boots-of-many-names and waded into the flow.
There was the little shrine, still dry. But what’s this? Here was a bundle of herbs, tied with a string. And here was a bunch of dried-out marigolds. Marigolds, hmmmm. Very traditional, but we had not grown any this year.
I took the jar and left the rest. At night, as we set out on dog walk, I remembered to ask M. if she had left those offerings.
Blank look. No, she had not.
So who did? Not the bears and raccoons. One of the neighbors—and there are not very many of them—has joined in on the cultic activity. But which?