Winding Escape

By: Tid541

Every child has a place or beloved object where reality becomes blurred, disorientated and separated. When I meandered and explored the creek in back of my house, I forgot everything that was going on in my life. The troubles and traumas would be forgotten as I crossed or waded up stream in my little creek.

My family and I moved to our house on Winter Nell Circle when I was six years old. My dark brown house was a long, sprawling, rectangular-shaped box. During my younger years my brother and I shared a bedroom complete with bunk beds. I, of course, claimed the top. When I demanded more privacy, I moved to a larger more secluded room downstairs.

Downstairs was a huge open room. The gray linoleum crawled from one end until it met with carpet that supported a couch and a TV. The linoleum maintained a ping pong table and a few chairs. My room was directly opposite the TV area. My large area was furnished with a twin bed, a few Nintendo chairs and a seven-foot, banana-shaped couch. A bathroom and a laundry room sat side by side to the right of the stairs.

We had a large front lawn that was placed on the narrow side of our house facing the street. The back lawn ran along the house parallel to the long portion of the house. Along the street we had a flower bed where my mom made my brother and me plant endless amounts of bulbs every year. In that flower bed, we had a cherry tree that exploded in a parade of colors every spring and fall. In the corner of our property, loomed two tall pine trees. Every so often, the gifts of coconut-sized pine cones would be placed on our lawn. The driveway ran around our house and slid down a little hill into a car port directly behind our house. It was always my job to mow the backyard. I hated this particularly because it was extremely undulating and awkward to cut. Running the length of my lawn stood a tall hedge that guarded the creek.

Concealed from the eyes and ears of my parents, the creek wandered. Accessing my little river could be accomplished by passing through a small hole in the hedge or scrambling over a teetering fence in the frontyard. The banks where made from a rough, gritty concrete that scraped and rubbed my hands raw. Rocks placed by men erratically protruded from the cement. The rocks not only gave the little concrete river a slightly more natural look but provided excellent foot holds. Without the rocks, the banks would be difficult to scale and explore. The man made concrete snake spanned twelve feet wide and was eight feet deep. During most of the year, a trickle of water, usually below a foot deep, flowed calmly through the bed.

Following the creek to the left is where the real adventure began. My house bordered the Country Club golf course. Upstream the waterway is shaped from a vast concrete river bed to a natural stream. When the creek invades the golf course, it transforms back to its natural state. There, the little river is five feet wide and four feet tall. Short maintained grass assaults the boarders. The water level rises due to the natural pools and the structure of the stream changes. Water skippers and crawdads are abundant. Due to the environmentally friendly golf course management not much other wildlife was to be found. Every spring, the water flowing down the creek would turn an unpleasant foaming green and orange. Apparently fertilizer and other unnatural growing enhancing products are harmful to life in the creek. During this time of the year, we tended to stay out of the water.

The country club portion of the watercourse traveled on for what seemed to be miles. Since the course marshals did not approve of our alternative use of the creek, we normally had to hide from all adults when roaming in that section of creek. We paned for golf balls as an old miner would for gold. There was a little brick red golf cart bridge down the river that usually served as a boundary for us.

When you live to reach adolescence, your life suddenly changes. No longer was I concerned with action figures and playing in the mud. Girls and strange hair are all that matters. During the spring of my fourteenth year my parents divorced. By this time, the secrets of the murky water no longer appealed to me. Due to my lack of an automobile, I used my legs as transportation. I could bound over the creek and escape the terrors of a dysfunctional home. I could flee to my dearest friend, Cody, who lived on the street opposite my side of the creek. Across my stream, a worn and treaded path lay. When I needed to escape, I would follow this path to the shelter of Cody’s house.

I was sixteen when my family and I parted ways with the creek and moved to Portland. The creek was now no longer an escape route or mysterious jungle. It was only a creek which beheld many memories of the past. The small but sometimes raging river served as an escape from the daily reality of life. The creek provided my inquisitive mind questions to ponder and nooks to explore. As I entered through the bush or over the fence, I crossed a threshold where my reality became detached and distant.

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