Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A quiet summer's day

I spent my childhood exploring the woods around my neighborhood every summer. My friend Lucy and I enjoyed the suburban wilderness much more often than the other kids. We were the most adventurous of the group and the biggest tomboys. We weren't happy to watch TV or play in the front yard for very long. We liked finding new trails and creeks or pick blackberries.

We knew about a stream nearby and started going there one summer to cool off in the water. We heard that it led to a gristmill where a lot of the older kids hung out. We weren't brave enough to walk all the way through the woods to the mill, so we stayed close to home. Here there were clear, shallow pools and small waterfalls flowing over big, granite rocks and fallen logs, emptying into a deep, muddy pool before flowing under the road to the other side. We always talked about swimming in the pool, but we never did. Anything could be lying in wait beneath the surface.

One day, Lucy and I were sitting around by the stream and decided to walk all the way to the gristmill. The pools were bigger and deeper there and a larger waterfall fell over the mill. We put our shoes on and began walking along the water.

The stream became wider and deeper. We walked along the sides, hanging onto roots and rocks in the ground over our heads so we didn't fall in the water. We eventually came to a clearing where the stream, much wider now, forked into two different directions. We took one path, hoping it was the right one and wondering what would lie ahead. We sloshed ahead, forgetting about keeping our shoes dry. The walls were too high for us to climb to the ground above and the water barely covered our feet.

We were getting bored and night was falling. We stopped. Should we keep going or go back home? Concentrating on the watery path, we had not paid attention to our surroundings. Our eyes had been focused on the water to make sure we didn't step on anything other than the creek bed.

While we were deciding whether to keep going or turn around, I looked up and froze. I said something to Lucy. She turned around and looked up at the bank behind her.

To be continued...


Anonymous Bob said...

Skinny-dippers!!! ;)

9:56 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

Hey, we were 12. :)

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Skinny-dippers would be scary to 12-year-olds, yes? :-)

10:01 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Oh OK. I guess so. :)

9:56 AM  

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