About a Creek
Growing up, my little brother and I were fortunate enough to have a large stream that ran through our backyard. We usually found ourselves running around barefoot on its banks, battling imaginary soldiers, and laying underneath the large oak trees that grew next to it.
We’d build forts along the stream and fortify our strongholds with Skunk Cabbage bombs and jerry-rigged thorn traps, which to this day, amazes me that they actually worked.
One such adventure always comes to mind when I drive by that stream nowadays.It was a cloudy Christmas morning and we had just finished watching a Saturday morning cartoon. The character had gone ice fishing and caught a fish so large that only an eye ball popped through the opening. Our eyes glittered and we smiled ear to ear as we looked at each other.
“You wanna go fishin’?”
We threw on our winter jackets and boots, grabbed our fishing rods, and told our mother we’d be back before Christmas lunch. She watched us from the kitchen window as the snow crunched under our boots.
That same morning, my six year old brother fell into the stream as he attempted to release a fish we had caught. I carried him about a mile home with my gloves on his bare feet while listening to him cry about how his feet were going to get sawed off. We came home to a hysterical mother and a very (and I mean very) angry father.
It’s one of those things you never forget…
Over time, as we grew older and our lives got busier, the stream grew to be a background in our lives. However, we never truly had the heart to say our goodbyes to it, as the stream would always hold a special place in our memories.
More than a decade had gone by and we found out a controversial highway had been put in. The result was a completely decimated brown trout population. Even with the efforts of the local Trouts Unlimited chapter and various local groups – the stream had shrunken down to a small creek. What was once a famed run that graced the books of Maryland’s fly fishing spots was nothing more than a small creek.
Once in awhile, my little brother and I will pull into our waders, grab our fly rods, and fish that stream. Deep down, we know it doesn’t hold much nor do we expect it to. A couple of bluegills or a small trout if we’re lucky.
Yet, we still fish it and give the stream our undivided attention as it once gave us when it flowed during our childhood. We pay homage to it and thank it for shaping us into who we are and who we will be in the future.
A decade from now, it may not be there any longer, but we will know it was there.
At the end of the day – I’d rather be writing about a creek than writing about nothing at all.