As a writer my writing is informed by my life experiences. Well, duh! I know, it seems obvious. I write what I know.
My wife and I spent Thanksgiving day with my mother, sister, brother-in-law, niece, and nephew. I hadn’t been back home in too long, and it was a beautiful day. I decided to walk down the steep hill through the woods to the creek where my friends and I spent a fair amount of time as children. There were tadpoles and crawdads to catch, initials to carve into trees with dull pocket knives, and dams and forts to build. Summer days lasted forever and the nights held the promise of lightning bugs.
My twelve year old nephew went with me and I told him about my experiences at the creek. He listened with the approximate level of interest that I would have had if I was twelve years old and listening to my sixty four year old uncle peel away the layers of time to reveal something about his childhood.
The gully with the piles of leaves we used to jumped into is now home to a number of old tires. The creek was choked with leaves and debris. There was a rusted out metal garbage can on the creek bank. I saw no dams, no forts, no sign at all that any child had been to the creek in years.
We climbed out of the woods and returned to the house. My nephew carried the rusted garbage can and took it out to the front curb to be picked up with the rest of the trash. I looked back once. The leaves had fallen from the trees and I could see all the way down the hill, through the woods to the creek. It was quiet and still and I wondered if there would ever be another child who would uncover the simple mysteries and pleasures of that creek.
I opened the kitchen door and went inside.