Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Letters From The Barn: Down By The Creek

Letters From The Barn: Down By The Creek

The creek was up today. Not over the banks to flood my land, but up enough to rush over the rocks and draw me down to sit six inches away and remind myself spring is almost here. Or, it is here. But, in this area, it’ll snow again, maybe even next week. So, wearing shorts today was fun, but it’s not time to switch out my long pants and sweaters yet for flip flops.

The water was brown because it was rushing so fast it carried the dirt and tree branches and small stones down river with it. When it’s lower and more still, it’s crystal clear. In photos, it looks empty as if there’s no water in it at all. There are no fish big enough to be edible. By me, anyway. There are tiny bait fish that don’t seem to be bait for any bigger fish. Instead, they catch the Jesus Bugs and the other critters that skim the surface.

Further down, once it leaves my land, the creek opens up enough where you can do a bit of swimming, if you’re not that serious about your swimming, that is. There it’s about ten times as wide as it is here and the bridge is far taller.

The water near where I grew up was warmer but always muddy. We had to watch out for jelly fish washing up on the shore of the beach. The sand had the tiniest shells that crackled all the way through it. When I made oatmeal cookies as a child, the oatmeal crackling through the mix in the bowl reminded me of the shells in the sand. I felt like I was eating sand shell sandwiches. But, without that horrible gritty taste you get at the real beach.

There are no shells by the creek here, but there are odd shaped rocks and old tree branches that have grown new shapes now that they’ve been washed far down stream from where they began. I lost a tree the other day to the creek. There are no branches left, the current took them away more quickly than I would have imagined. I wonder where they are downstream. Maybe I will pass part of them one day in town as a walking stick carved by an old man who steps past me or made into small star shaped earrings by a young woman who likes to gather driftwood after the rain. 

Author: Meriwether O'Connor