The Stream

June 16, 2008
“Will you take us to the stream?”
Three pairs of puppy eyes
look at me, hopeful.
I consider.
I’ve got homework, I say.
Downcast, disappointed faces look away.
I think to myself
I always have homework
and what’s really more important?
“But I’d rather go.”
“We’ll be ready REALLY fast.”
They race upstairs, pull on last year’s too small bathing suits.
Little Sophie asks for help.
She’s forgotten
how to put hers on.
It’s been a long time since summer.

Everyone’s ready now
but wait- the goggles!
This is modern America.
Who swims
in a three-foot-deep stream
in April
without goggles?
Not us.

Three happy kids race to the stream.
I follow behind
wearing my mom’s rubber clogs
and holding a camera
that won’t really capture what I want it to.

I am called
told to hurry up
asked for permission to get wet.

Go ahead. Jump in, I call
and cries of coldness and glee and happiness
reach my ears
as I saunter down the hill.

“Who’s going under first?”
“Not me!”
I let their happy chatter surround me
and sit myself on a largish rock
to supervise.

Goggles are used
heads are (almost) submerged
rocks are discovered
and ledges are jumped from
before I call
time to go.

As we hike up to the house
(the steep way that’s shorter),
three content kids race ahead
teasing, laughing, joking.
I follow.

I hear a chorus of thanks
from the top of the hill
but I have to wonder:
shouldn’t I be thanking them?

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