Some summers ago, being free of any work and having nothing to do, I decided on a project. Now, down an alley behind my house there was a large creek, a slow lethargic wonder. The sun gleamed on its surface, the wind blew cool as the the green trees loomed overhead, and their shade turned the place into quite a utopia. The creek was deep and muddy, full of fish, packed with all manner of creatures enjoying a stress-free life. This creek was, I believe, the most amazing, timeless, and awe-inspiring place I have ever been.
The creek was wide, slow, and deep, perfect for rafting. I had quite an idea for building a raft. I figured that if I could get my hands on a pallet or other wooden platform, then I could pile bottles under it to keep me afloat. My plan did work; though it took months to find a good pallet and even longer to save up enough milk jugs and water bottles to keep it afloat. I’ll be the first to admit that I looked very queer lugging a pallet across an alley, and I’m sure no one could explain why they had seen an 11 year old with his hands full of bottles making his way to the source of the Conoy Creek. As time went on and more bottles were added, my little raft increased in buoyancy. First it held me. Then my 120 lb brother. Then me with my 120lb brother. I used to take my 40 lb little brother on long, slow rides down the creek. He loved that.
As time went on, I added a sail and “anchor” (It was really just a brick tied to the raft.) I went out on it each day, and looking like a boatman on a gondola, pushed out to a good fishing spot. I never used a fishing rod; I bent a safety hook into the right shape and tied it to a length of thread. Not fishing line, mind you. Ordinary sewing thread. I used my hands and lowered the hook into the deep refreshing water, and caught mostly minnows which I fed to my pet turtle. It saved me from having to buy turtle food and ride my bike to the pet supply store. All went well until the thunderstorm hit. This thunderstorm was typical of the late summer deluges which scare the daylights out of small children. The creek rose so high that my anchor was lifted and the tree branch my raft was tied to snapped. As far as I know, there is still a raft drifting gently along the creek. It could be all the way to the Susquehanna river or the Chesapeake bay, for that is where the creek heads to, ever seeking to end it’s exhausting journey to it’s final destination. All this, however, is in the past, unlikely to ever happen again; though I still consider the creek splendid in all its majesty, evan when there is no raft on it.