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The Creek

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At the bottom of my road, the Wickecheoke Creek sputters along, torrenting the day after storms, crowded by trees eager to join its flow. They lean in like overbearing parents. On the way down, we pop those black tar clusters that erupted by the sting of the sun. Pointless rebellion, but my sister’s old enough and we can go without our parents now.

The place we always go is only calling distance from the Covered Bridge, where the occasional thud of car tires reverberates on the continually loosening beams and supports. Here through the varying stages of summer, the water always challenges a route of rickety and algae-frosted rocks to cross to its island where the creek path splits. In early summer, the birds conquer our ears and the trees. But as the summer winds along, the cicadas join them with an incessant cry- a harmony nonetheless. By now we tune them out.

If we want, there’s always the angular boulders that rip the current of the otherwise mellow water, separated by deeper pools. A low, flat one I jump to is always the coveted vacation house. My main house is scratchy, that ordinary beige color of man-made rock. One side is scooped out into a ledge where I rest my back against the warm stone, my legs dangle, skimming the water. Diluted by the thick air and the crescendo of sound, time echoes.

The growing and waning sunlight filters through the trees’ branches steadily, in rhythm with the movements of the sun and clouds. We grow tired of sprawling in the alternating sun and shadow.

We search.

Clusters of frosted beach glass. Stones that are unusually smooth or strikingly colored. Rocks shaped like hearts. Rocks carved by the creek’s current into perfect circles. We create collections and hold our own auctions, just the two of us, the trees acting as the sole witnesses to our transactions.

I lean my head against one of the large rocks. Here, we will become just an echo of the creek and its surroundings- an imprint in its memory. But in this moment, that’s irrelevant.





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