Friday, September 3, 2010


The banks of the creek are steep; a dearth of rain has exposed the deep roots of the great leaning elms and oaks to air they are unaccustomed to feeling. These trees remember now what it is like to be a sapling; struggling again for a hold, a grasp on their place in the world. Below them the creek flows, its thin waters crystal clear, the rains of autumn have yet to fill them with clay and silt. In these shallows, beside the mossy gnarled roots, we sought refuge from the heat of the day.

We waded into the water, the creek bed shimmering with tiny pebbles, shells, and smooth stones. Ahead of us, to the west, a small curve in the bank was tattooed with skinny finger prints, like a dozen children escaped in their pajamas and toddled here for a moonlit meeting. They left behind what to my eyes looked like drowning butterflies, iridescent and glimmering, beckoning me to touch. The raccoons had feasted on the mussels, each delicate shell left clean centimeters below the flowing surface; a simple meal for them, a moment of wonder for me.

My children and I sat for an hour there, catching breezes and chasing minnows with our toes. We collected many of the open mussel shells, their lovely shades of lavender and silver muted in our hands. At some point I became restless, thinking we needed to leave, we had been there for so long. But a simple question from my youngest stopped my rushing things immediately, "Why?"

All of my wanderings and dreaming and seeking the depths, and I still fall prey to my adult perception of time. I forget what it is like to be a child, when time had no value, no relativity other than spending all the time it takes to enjoy, explore, and learn. They know intuitively to spend the least of it worrying, not having fun, and forgetting the really important things. They reminded me to be a sapling again everyday, even every moment, and to appreciate the gift of being alive; struggling again for a hold, a grasp on my place in the world.

We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
Anaïs Nin


Mom said...

Beautiful my dear. I've waited for another post and this one was just perfect. Oh what we can learn from kids...take the time to live, to enjoy, to love, to open our eyes and hearts to see life through the innocence of a child. I love the true.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Time's just another construct, I suppose. At least it seems that way when you ponder how long it takes for something good to arrive (forever) and how long it takes until it's our turn to sit in the dentist's chair (blink of the eye). Anais had it right.

Beautiful post.