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Oh, Yes We Did!

IMG_0311“Gran, can we play in the creek tomorrow?” four-year-old Elaine asked as I tucked her into bed. Yes, after the water is warm. By 8:00 a.m., the water was as warm as my Grand’s patience allowed. When your day begins at 6:00, two hours later is the middle of the day.

Elaine carried a bucket and plastic shovels. I hauled towels, my cell phone, a mug of lukewarm coffee, a bottle of water, and a folding chair down our backyard hill to the creek. A small creek – only a few inches deep, three feet wide with clear, and gentle flowing water.

Elaine stomped and stomped. “Look, Gran, the water’s brown! Where’s my feet?” She stood perfectly still and I challenged her to stay still until the water cleared and she could see her feet. As she stared down, water striders glided on the water’s surface around her ankles. Elaine squatted. Her nose almost touching the water. The striders dispersed. “Where’d they go? I wanna catch one,” my Grand said.

Elaine raised her open hand and when a strider came close, she slapped the water and closed her fingers, but she didn’t catch anything. She tried again and again and again until finally, she showed me a crushed insect.

“Way to go, Elaine!” I said and then convinced her that the strider would be happier with its friends in the creek than alone in a plastic bucket. When she opened her fist underwater to release the strider, green algae floated onto her hand and she grabbed it. “Look, Gran! This is slimy!” She plunged her hand to the creek bottom and brought up a handful of algae.

“Is this supposed to be here?” Elaine asked. I explained that algae grows in water like weeds in dirt and it should be in the water. “Wow! That’s comazing!” (comazing – not amazing) my Grand said as she squeezed algae in both hands and then gathered enough to cover the bottom of a bucket. She held the bucket under my nose, “ Look. It’s like wet moss.”

Elaine and I took giant steps in the creek. We swirled water with a stick. We threw rocks and splashed and threw a leaf and watched it float. “Gran, will you help me build……what’s it called? One of those things that Samuel and Elsie (her older siblings) make?” She described it as rocks stacked on each other. “Do you mean a dam, Elaine?” I asked. “Dam!” she shouted. “Dam! Dam! Dam. Is dam a bad word?” Elaine’s interest in building a dam was shorter than the time it took to shout the word three times.

“I need to make some mud balls,” Elaine announced. She dug black clay from the creek’s bank and squashed it between her hands so that it stuck together. Carefully, she arranged the balls, the size of hickory nuts, on a big rock to dry. Every ball had to be the same size and placed in two straight lines.

A few more splashes and swirls and stomps and creek play time ended. As Elaine and I walked toward our house, I ad-libbed a silly one-line song. “Oh, we had fun in the creek,” and Elaine immediately sang, “Oh, yes, we did!” Our song continued.

We splashed and walked

            Elaine: And picked up rocks

            We saw a dragonfly

            Elaine: And wet mo – mo- moss

            We threw some rocks

            Elaine: And picked up water striders.

            Oh, we had fun in the creek.

            Elaine: OH, YES! WE DID, DID, DID, DID, DID!


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