Fishing for Peace

April 19, 2011
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What could be more relaxing than watching a tree sway in the summer breeze? The four large oak trees sway back and forth making my eyes roll back and forth while watching them. Even with this relaxation on hand, I find myself bored. I look around my house for my shoes. I finally find them under my couch where my dog had brought them. I step outside my door and get blasted with the humidity of the June air. Straight ahead of me I can see my herd of sheep grazing near the oak trees. They take one large mouthful of grass at a time. They slowly move behind my barn and disappear. I walk into my shed and get all of the things I am going to need for this wonderful day ahead. I get a fishing pole, marshmallows, and a bobber. I am now prepared to go fishing for some of the smallest fish you have ever seen. I go into another shed where my four-wheeler is, and I get onto it. With one turn of a key, I hear the four-wheeler growl. I pull out of my shed and ride up my driveway.

I stop at the end of my driveway to make sure there are no cars coming before I cross. I drive into my neighbor’s driveway past their house. Their house is a nice pearl white with blue shingles. The grass is mowed to perfection almost every day. When I drive past their house I sometimes feel like I am going to ruin their perfect yard. I around their house and onto their four-wheeler trail that leads to Peterson Park. My neighbors named the park they created after themselves. Les and Sharon Peterson are the nicest people I have ever met. When I ride past their house they usually stop me and want talk to me about life. These two people are nothing but nice, and their perfect yard and wonderful park are a reflection of their being.

The path to Peterson Park is made between two fields of corn. The corn crops are down this time of year, but during the fall they are very tall and fun to drive through. Going down this stretch of about two hundred yards is one of the more fun parts of going to the park. I make the four-wheeler go almost as fast as it can. The wind rushes past my face and runs through my hair. This ride makes me think back to when I was younger. My sister and I would make this trip down to the park almost every day. We would have so much fun during the summer. Now I usually make this ride alone because of my sister’s busy schedule with her nursing classes. I will forever miss the times we had back in Peterson Park.

I get to the end of the long path, and I enter into the woods. The entrance into the woods is really quite beautiful. It is a very steep dirt path that is surrounded on all sides my tees. The trees make the path very dark and gloomy like a tunnel. After I get out of this dark tunnel there is a shot of sunlight, and I can see Peterson Park waiting for me. The park consists of a large grass area with a small steam running through it. There is a picnic table, a chair swing, and a real swing. I sometimes go over to this area and just lie on the grass and look up at the sky. When I am here I have no care in the world. It’s like the gloomy entrance is a passageway into pure serenity.

I pass the picnic table and continue on the path. The trail leads me to a marsh. In this marsh there are tall dead weeds surrounding me. The tan and yellow weeds are as tall as I am. I can hear numerous animals jumping through the ocean of weeds. There is a little wooden bridge coming up ahead. Every time I see this small bridge and smile. This is my safe haven. The place I can lay and relax.

I come to a stop before getting to the bridge. I grab my fishing pole and the marshmallows. The boards on the bridge are weathered with age, and I always feel uncomfortable walking on it. The bridge is made out of several wooden boards with two long round pieces of wood keeping it up from the bottom. Below the bridge is the small creek that runs by the picnic table and swings. The creek is only about three feet deep. I have spent many days looking down into this creek seeing the small fish rush under the bridge. I always look down at the creek on sunny days and see streams of light shining through the cracks in the old wooden bridge. These streams of light make a variety of color in the shallow water.

I take out one marshmallow and rip it apart into tiny pieces. I put one piece on my small hook and cast my line about fifteen feet from where I am sitting on the bridge. The bridge is just low enough for me to stick my toes into the cold refreshing water. I sit on the bridge and listen to all of the sounds of the animals. From my time back in Peterson Park I have seen countless animals.
There have been deer that have walked up to the creek to get a drink. I have seen small weasels run past me on the bridge trying to catch butterflies. One time a skunk came onto the path which made me jump up and ride home leaving all of my fishing supplies there to get another day. One animal I find interesting in Peterson Park is the turtle. There are large banks on each side of the creek made of partially white sand along with regular brown sand. Every summer I go down here to try to see the baby turtles hatching from their shells. Only once have I seen this remarkable event. The small baby turtles slide down the side of the bank and splash into the calm flow of the creek. I watched the baby turtles until they were gone from sight down the creek.

I watch my bobber for any sign of movement. I get a fish almost every time I cast my line. There was a ripple in the water where my bobber used to be. A fish had taken it under! I quickly reeled in my line. There isn’t very much struggle from the fish because it is only about six inches. These fish are very beautiful. They have silver bottoms and spotted green tops with beautiful stripes of black down the side. These fish rarely get bigger than nine inches. I have caught hundreds of these beautiful fish over the years, and I have returned every single one back to the creek. Some of these fish have given me a lot of trouble in the past.

I caught the biggest fish I had ever caught in the little creek. I took out my phone to take a picture to send to my sister. I was so proud of myself for catching this little giant. I set the fish down on the bridge, but when I took the picture the fish flipped up and hit my phone out of my hand and into the water. My phone sank down to the bottom leaving an air bubble trail behind. I quickly took off some of my clothes to prepare my dive into the water. Right before I dove I heard a big crack. Before I realized it, I splashed head first into the creek. The board I was standing on had snapped in half. I came up shocked and soaked. I couldn’t help but to laugh. I looked down at my destroyed phone and went back to my house with a story to tell.

The memories made in Peterson Park are priceless. There is a large quantity of stories I can tell from visiting Peterson Park. I have brought friends down to see my retreat. We have made movies here, and also lasting memories.

While sitting on this bridge, I watch a Trumpeter Swan fly above me. I don’t think there is any place in the world more beautiful than this place right here. All around me are large green pine trees swaying in the wind. The only sounds I can hear are the water and the sound of animals. This must be what people call the sound of nature.

The sun is starting to fall back into its own oasis now leaving an orange glow behind. I look up at the sky and realize it is getting late. I had no idea that it was seven. I have spent almost seven hours here. The time always flies when I am out here with nothing but nature and my own thoughts.
I reel my line in and head to the four-wheeler. While turning my four-wheeler around, I smile. I smile because I know that when I leave Peterson Park it will be the same as when I came to it. I drive my four-wheeler up the gloomy tunnel and out into the real world. I have never experienced a shot of sunlight going up and out of the tunnel before. Mostly I think it is because it is usually late when I come back home. Sometimes I think it is because when I leave such an amazing place like Peterson Park everything is dull in comparison.
I get to the end of Les and Sharon’s driveway, and head straight into mine. I go and park my four-wheeler into the shed and head up my stairs on my deck and into the house. There is a smell of burgers in the kitchen air, and my mom greets me with a large smile. “Hey, where have you been all afternoon?” My mom asked when she saw me.

“I was fishing at Peterson Park,” I replied

My mom looked at me and chuckled, “You really like it back there don’t you?”

I looked at her and smiled and said, “There is no other place I would rather be.”

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