In my neck of the woods a branch is a small tributary to a creek or larger waterway. Whilst tromping through the woods and glades many ditches, creeks, and branches flowed. The created fetching sights or lovely gurgling sounds. These watery places were part of the adventure and a place to cool off during the heat of summer.
On many occasions there was nothing for it than fording a branch to get to the other side. In warm weather it was off socks and boots and pile the gear high out of reach of the water. Minding the slippery rocks and curious fish I waded. This was my preferred maneuver to cross a branch.
Sitting on the far shore drying in the sunshine gave me time to admire the flowing water and to imagine stories the steam might tell of its course.
My favorite character, Ratty in the Wind in the Willows advised “there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” I have always admired Rat’s view of that world.
I say, “believe me, absolutely there is this one thing, so much worth doing, that is simply messing about in branches.” For me, maybe, more so than messing about in boats with apologies to Ratty.