Thursday, May 08, 2008

Water Prompt

Between my neighborhood and the next, there is a creek. As children, we would go down there to play. Sometimes we would cut through yards, sometimes we didn't have to. The area right at the bottom of our street was the best. There was a pebbly beach and a great tree growing just to the right of it. The water was slowly eating away at the underside of this tree that created an overhang. Sometimes, we would jump from this height onto the pebbly beach on the other side of the creek. Just near that was a rounded knoll. We dug a fire pit into the earth there; thankfully, it never got out of hand.

If we followed the creek east, against its flow, we would eventually come to a deep pool at the base of a huge metal and spider-infested tunnel under the highway. The creek on the other side of this tunnel felt cleaner, the shores more grassy and soft. We explored very little of this side. Following downstream to the west took us past some bees making their home in the clay. We would sometimes take the clay and make things out of it. I once made a crude bowl that was promptly destroyed by summer rain.

In the winter, the creek would freeze over and we could walk on the ice. Some parts were not very thick, and some could support us doing our best to break it. One time, one of us misjudged the ice and fell right through it. Thankfully, the creek was not very big and we were never far from either shore.

One spring, we followed the creek further west than we ever had before. The distance wasn't that far, but to a child, it was miles away. Our beloved play ground, our narrow, safe creek suddenly opened up into a vast lake. There were bigger minnows, taller hills, several beaver dams, and on occasion, a Great Blue Heron. Us kids dubbed this lake JABSSE, using the first initial of all of us who braved the distance and found it.

I sometimes miss those waters: filled with more pollutants than a child really cares about. I miss the serenity on the knoll by the fire pit where I first learned to meditate. I miss the excitement of finding new rocks on the pebbly beaches and seeing a Heron, spooked by my presence, taking flight. Where I could get away with walking as a child would be considered trespassing now. How very unfortunate.

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