Creek Watch, Day 3

March 11, 2010 at 9:40 pm Leave a comment

Day 3 of  Creek Watch, of seeing it anew,  my struggles with getting thoughts to paper, my mind swirling with ideas as I cross again and again, Cascadilla Creek.  Six years and what have I seen?  How can I feel like this is the first time I’ve noticed it?  Probably five of those years are lost, invisible impressions that flit in and out of my mind, quick as my crossings.  Some events jump out at me, like the carp spawning, stacks of fish churning in the shallow water, huge females dwarfing the eager and abundant males.  They gather slowly, their numbers growing, sometimes hiding under the bridges, sometimes in the bright daylight, spanning the width of the creek.  And then one day they’re just gone.  I watch for the young, but I never see them.

Then there’s my returning duck couple who make a nest and have a few bobbing young every year, their nest disappearing in a spring flood, later their little family cuddled cozily on a sunny rock.  Summertime blackbirds with yellow eyes sit on the rocks, dipping their beaks and tossing back the cool water.  They clamor for the mulberries that shade the creek next to the Buddhist temple. 

Another day in the summer when all life seemed tucked away, the only living things I saw in the water were a snake, a rat and a crawfish, each reminding me of how cruel hemming in a creek in with cement banks can be. 

I’ve watched the water turn into a slurry of creek soup, slushy globs of soft ice that look like fat, the rocks, sticks, and society’s trash simmering underneath.  Watching the sinuous, liquid ice floes form and change, is like visiting the aquarium and identifying the different fish, dolphins and penguins that grab out attention.  It’s water cloud watching, the steam from my own breathing adding to the circle of water and air.

I vow to never not notice the creek again, thankful for the reminder of how fast life can go by.   I know though, that I will forget, lost in my head, thoughts of good days or bad days at work, what’s for dinner, happy in the warm evening air, and then I will be brought up short by the cool, damp air held by the creek and it’s memory of winter.

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