I have always been irresistibly drawn to water, particularly creeks, streams, and brooks. While road tripping, I’ve stopped to photograph them more than any other feature in Nature. Their beauty can be breathtaking, nestled beside a mountain, surrounded by trees and wildflowers. And the sound of the water running over the stones in the creek bed is one of the most soothing I know. In fact, it’s the white noise I use to lull me to sleep each night.
Looking at a topographical map, the myriads of little creeks in the US look like a diagram of human capillaries, and are similar in that they also transport oxygen and other nutrients. Only after spending time in the Southwest did I learn that in much of the desert, trees can be found only where water runs through the land. That may seem obvious, but it never occurred to me when I was living full-time on the East Coast of the US, where trees are much more abundant.
I’ve heard many stories about funny happenings at creeks, and I have one to share. Years ago, I met a new friend from Texas at a hostel in Northern New Mexico. We enjoyed spending time under some ancient trees that shade a creek running behind the village’s few merchants. We once bought a bottle of wine to share on the edge of the water and took it out of the bag to realize we had no way of opening it. There was a bar a short walk away, so I strolled inside and asked the bartender, whom we had befriended, to lend us a corkscrew. Back by the creek, we tried in every way known to man to get that cork out of the bottle, but couldn’t get it to budge. (If anyone was watching, I can imagine what a belly laugh they had!) Embarrassed, we took the wine and the cork screw into the bartender who smirked while opening it for us. We laughed at ourselves the whole time we were drinking it.
On a more serious note, there is a little stream I crossed at least twice each day for a month when I did a work-study program at Esalen Holistic Institute in Big Sur, California. It was canopied by trees and had a small wooden foot path. I often passed someone meditating beside it on my way to or from classes or my work in the kitchen. It is one of the most peaceful places I’ve known.
In Eastern Nevada, I once camped at Great Basin National Park. I arrived early enough during the week to have my pick of campsites, and chose one with a brook running through the back. I set up my tent close enough that I could hear the water babbling at night. It is by far my favorite-ever campsite.
The unique beauty of Sedona, Arizona, is magnified by Oak Creek, a canyon stream that runs through much of town. West Fork, a hike mentioned in my post Red Rocks on the Water, is among the area’s 400 miles of trails. It’s very popular, especially in Spring and Fall, due to the many wildflowers and changing leaves that flank the creek, which the trail crosses many times. Fallen logs and small boulders form the paths across the water, and can be quite the challenge. But the water is pretty shallow for the distance of the hike, and the surrounding red cliffs and colored stones on the creek bed are gasp-worthy. So what if you get your feet wet!
The sights and sounds of creeks, streams, and brooks bring me joy, entertainment, and peace. And I’m certain I’m not the only one. Do you have similar stories that you’re willing to share?
Blessings from the Creek,
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