Inspired by “The Gift of Strawberries” in Braiding Sweetgrass
Written by Ryann Armstrong
Samuel is an adventurous boy who goes down to the creek in his backyard. During his time at the creek, he collects different kinds of rocks and makes gifts of them. One night while talking to his mother, he realizes what the creek has been teaching him over the years.
Keywords: keep moving forward
I had always heard stories of humans being raised by wolves and the nature around them, I guess that can be said about me as well. I was raised by the creek that ran through my backyard. I’ve always been an adventurous child but if you were to ask my parents they would say that I am more of a wild child. If you have ever stood by a body of water, you would know that calmness it brings you with the sounds of the waves crashing along the shore. This is where my story of how the gift of water changed my life.
“Samuel, where are you going?” said Mother.
“I am just going to the creek outside mom, nothing to worry about” I replied.
“Well please be careful, I don’t want you to fall in,” said Mother.
Little did she know, I was already planning on going into the creek to find rocks. I started to walk through the back patio door that leads out into our beautiful backyard with bird feeders to the left side and a small garden filled with cucumbers, cilantro, tomatoes, and basil to the right side. The garden is in a big wooden box that is raised off of the ground so the bunny rabbits don’t eat them. We have a stone path that leads right down the middle of the backyard, it starts at the end of the porch stairs all the way down to a small white gate that is connected to the white fence that surrounds our yard.
As I reach the fence, I turn around and see my mother in the window getting ready to cook dinner. I give her a quick wave and keep moving forward into the woods. The woods are all I can see for miles when looking at the back of my house. I journey down the little hill and there I see the creek. When I approach the creek, I take my shoes off and put them up on a huge flat rock that is lodged into the shore bank.
“Hmm I wonder if the water is going to be cold,” I think to myself.
“What type of fish or creatures are swimming in here with me right now?” I say out loud, wondering if maybe the fish can hear me.
I look for different types of rocks to add to my collection, that I have been building over the years of coming to the creek. I make little rock statues, you know the ones where you stack them on top of each other, that’s what I give to my parents as presents for father’s day and/or Mother’s day. I got the idea from a road trip I went on with my parents and I saw them along the dirt roads on our way to the destination. I believe my parents like them because they have never complained about it before, but sometimes I often wonder if they just put the rocks with the rock pile we have in the front yard.
I noticed that the sun is starting to set which means that it is dinner time, so I start to grab my collection and put it into a mason jar that I bring with me every time I go and get my shoes off of the rock. I make my way back up the little hill, through the gate, up the stone path and through the back door. Mother is setting the table up for supper. I put my shoes away and sit down at the table.
“How was your day son?” asked Father.
“It was a lot of fun, I went down to the creek and found more rocks for my collection. One of them I found is all white and has little sparkles!” I replied back.
“Well that is amazing, I can’t wait to see what you make with it,” said Mother.
After supper, I went up to my room to add the rock that I got today to my collection. I looked at all of the rocks that I have collected over the years and tested my knowledge of them. I started to pick up the rocks one by one and name them.
“This one here is a chert,” I said out loud.
“Hmm I believe that this one is quartz crystals, yes yes it is.”
“Okay now this one is definitely an agate.”
“The one I found today looks like another quartz crystal because of the sparkles but I am not entirely sure,” I said to myself.
After looking at all of my rocks, I went and laid on top of my bed that is in the center of my room with grey sheets. I started to think about everything that the creek has taught me over the years. That’s when mother walked in to tuck me into bed.
“What are you thinking about Samuel?” said Mother.
“Well, I am just thinking about everything that the creek has taught me over the years of exploring down there” I replied back.
“Hmm and what has it taught you?” asked Mother.
“Now that I think about it, you know how creeks are always moving downstream. It’s because water moves with gravity. Since water is always moving, it has shown me that as humans we need to keep moving forward no matter what is happening in our lives. Because if we stay still, everything will pass by us like opportunities. Life can get hard sometimes, I’ve seen that before with you and father but you always move forward just like the creek.”
“Wow Samuel, that is amazing, I guess it is true that moving forward no matter how hard life gets is more beneficial than staying put.”
That’s when I realized that the creek has been raising me since I was young. It has given advice to me without any verbal communication but just the way that it flows downstream.