The early days of each season are happy with anticipation. The beginning of summer unfolds like pages from my favorite children’s books.
My eight-year-old has been out of school for almost one week now, and the less hurried pace has been welcome. I’ve had a little time to daydream this week . . . time to remember the big swimming pool in the country where I savored the summers of my youth, time to look forward to what this summer will bring, and time to indulge in summer present.
There are many creeks in our town, but the one we’ve claimed as our own, even adorned with a pet name, is Minnow Creek. It fulfills my longing to find an undiscovered swimming hole. Admittedly, after a drenching rain, parts of it (at best) reach my middle. But, it is a marvelous swimming hole for my little boys.
It has a natural rock bottom, so your feet won’t squish into mud and leeches are never a problem (as they are for Laura in On the Banks of Plum Creek). At Minnow Creek, you can slip your feet into a cool puddle as you watch surprised minnows darting away. If you bear left, a leisurely stroll in ankle-deep water is in store, but if you bear right, you’ll soon stumble off a ledge into “the swimming hole.”
My sons always want to veer right, but on cool evenings (We like to visit the creek in the evening), I nudge them to the left. This week, we splashed to the left. The sun glinted off the water ahead of us, and we kicked up glittering droplets with each step. I felt like we’d jumped into a Mark Twain novel as I watched my eight-year-old and his best friend run ahead. Little One trailed on their heels.
Laughter, soggy shoes, algae, minnows, the mild threat of seeing a snake, sunshine, sparkling water, dragonflies, an abandoned bike, trees overhead . . . summer magic! The only thing that could have made it better was Daddy offering to take his bedraggled family and their friends out to dinner. He did! We mildly protested about the algae still hanging off our water sandals. Then, we threw that school-year caution out the window. It was summer! The boys pulled on their shirts, and we happily brought a bit of Minnow Creek with us to the restaurant. 🙂
P.S. When I was a girl, I read a novel in which a family floated a watermelon in the swimming hole as they swam. Then, when the cool water had chilled the melon to perfection, they ate it! That image has stayed with me, and I simply must recreate it at one of our Minnow Creek excursions this summer. (If anyone knows the name of the novel that floating watermelon appears in, I’d be so grateful if you’d tell me!)