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(Keep in mind these parts are rough drafts) 

The path led down into the woods. It was a well-worn path and often used by the local kids. In fact, it was so well-known that it had been given a name. A name passed down from each group of kids to the next. That name was Old Man Mason’s path. How the name came to be was a subject, that was as much in debate, as the land through which it ran. It was this path which I now walked.

 On any other day, I would be walking down this path with a few friends of mine but today, it seemed, that was not to be. Two of my friends, Charlie Stevens and Stan “the stork” Evans were stuck at home with the flu.  Janie Mevins was stuck at home with homework. So today I got to walk it alone. Thankfully, it was not a day of bad weather. I did not have to deal with mud clogging me down or wind whipping at my face and clothes. Spring time had finally arrived to our neck of the woods. Please excuse my pun…it was unintended. At age 12, no boy would ever intentionally write a pun, just a surely as we would also never, ever kiss a girl.

 With the spring time came the flowers and smell of them filled the air as I walked along. The path had a meandering nature to it and lazily took you into the woods. Since most kids used it to go to Old Mason creek or as a short cut to the school, I often wondered exactly why the path was not more straight and to the point. Maybe those who first made the path were not entirely sure how to get where they wanted to go or perhaps it was just the path of least resistance. That was another one of those debates that never seem to get resolved and today I had no intention of debating both sides in my head, therefore I put aside those thoughts, choosing to concentrate instead on what I had come here for.

 My intentions today were rather simple. I was in pursuit of an answer. Even at 12 I realized that some questions had no easy answers but at the same time I also realized that some questions could easily be answered, if you just simply got up off your butt and looked. The question I wanted to find the answer to was “Where does the creek come from?” Yes, I had heard answers. That was the problem though. I’d heard answers, not an answer. It seemed nobody really knew for certain because the answers were varied and many. I heard answers like ” Well, you see now son, all of the creeks around here in the Mississippi Valley Flats come from a tributary off of the Mississippi. We don’t have any mountains around here for them to come from.” and ” Thats an easy one. The Old Mason creek comes from Old Man Mason’s pond, although I can’t say that I have ever seen any ponds around here.” I even had someone tell me ” The sky, of course. Isn’t that where all rivers, lakes, and creeks come from? They come from rain.” This last answer I was given, I was pretty sure they were trying to be smart or perhaps they thought they were being funny. I did not say anything back to them though. I was taught to respect my elders. I was very tempted to tell them that ” the sky ” did not magically make ran and that it was more likely that the water was absorbed into the atmosphere from the many oceans on the planet. However, I remained respectful, I smiled, said ” Thank you ” and walked away.

 After hearing the various answers I decided the only way I was going to know for sure exactly where the water leads was to follow the water. With a little time and energy spent, I would likely find out the truth and could lay this question to rest. I had hoped that Janie would be joining me today on this mini adventure but that hope was dashed when, on the school bus ride home, she told me of the homework she got. It would have been nice to have at least one friend come along, even if it was a girl. I guess some things just can’t be helped or planned for. Kinda goes along with the whole concept of adventure, I guess.

 Finally, I arrived at the creek. At this point of the creek, it was about 15, maybe 20 foot, to the other side. The water, most of the time, was less than a foot deep and could easily be waded across. At some point, some kids of the past, had tried to make it so you would not have to take off your shoes to wade across, by putting down some planks of wood. The wood had rotted and sank into the river banks when they turned muddy. Most people did not bother trying to use them now knowing, that the chance of getting across on them without getting your feet wet was equal to, the chances of a bear crapping in your kitchen. For me, it was not a concern since I did not plan on crossing the creek. I was going to follow it. I knew that going left led to it petering out about a mile downstream. So I turned right and began to follow the water.

To be continued…


© 2011- J.B. Thomas