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“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find ways in which you yourself have altered,” as said my Nelson Mandela in his autobiography. Ever since I have been a little girl, my dad and I have been going on a routine walk through our luscious timber surrounded by creeks and bluffs to sit on a large rock and over look the Maquoketa River. Whenever I visit the river, the scenery still looks the same; however each time I, myself have changed. I have grown to love the river for the beauty and nature instead of the content playing and splashing in the water.

After my dad and I moved into my great grandparent’s old house, my dad wanted to take me on a journey which he often went on as a little boy when visiting Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Fifteen minutes was all it took for my dad and me to walk to our destination. I had no idea what Dad was so eager to show me. When we arrived I took no time to enjoy the beautiful scenery instead I only ran in and started jumping across rocks in the river and rolling on the hot sandy beach. I thanked my dad for buying me my own swimming pool in my backyard; however, Dad quickly clarified the “pool” in my backyard was only a river. Dad explained the dangers of the currents in the river and how I was to be careful when playing in the risky waters. My dad and I walked along the same path every weekend I was with him. We would go all seasons of the year and yet the river looked the same to me.

Even though I am older now, I still walk along our path; however, occasionally alone. I enjoy sitting on the famous rock overlooking the water and delight in my alone time to enjoy the peace and quiet. I soak in the hot sun’s rays over the summer and enjoy listening to the trickling sound the water makes when it runs along the rocks. I often find myself lost in thought as I bask in the presence of the tall, luscious, green trees surrounding me on all sides. I will lay on the rock and gaze at the bright blue sky with the fluffy white clouds floating over my head. During the fall I admire the brilliant colors the leaves have changed to and as I am walking, I listen to the crunch of the dry leaves I am stepping on as they are falling off the trees. Over the winter I always test to see how frozen the water is. I bundle myself up in a coat, hat, gloves, scarf, snow pants, and my waterproof boots. I still try to leap across the small rocks poking out of the ice as I would often do as a small child. My favorite time to visit my small paradise in my backyard is during the spring. I love watching the leaves grow and flower buds blossom. I listen to the sound of birds chirping while watching them soar in the warm, calm air.

Over the years, I have changed when visiting my unchanging destination. I have grown to love the nature and beauty of our scenery instead of running the whole way excited to play in the water. I take my time and appreciate the beauty surrounding me. I take pride in the river and have continued a tradition by taking my brother and sister with me every Sunday afternoon. The river has not changed; it looks the same as when I was a child. I remember seeing all the big rocks to climb on and the straight down sandy hill you have to run down in order to get into the water. The only thing different about my annual trips is myself. I have grown older and appreciate the little things I have in my own back yard. I have realized I do not need a pool and fun toys to entertain me, all I need is a path through beautiful timbers leading me to magical places such as my river.



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