We have all been forced to take a step back. To slow down. To distance ourselves from each other, from our normal lives, and from many of things that we deeply cherish. And I’ll be the first to admit — this is tough. If you are like me, you’ve probably spent a lot of time and energy making plans. Places to go, people to see, teams to follow, and goals to achieve.
For now, a lot of those things are going to have to get pushed back. Maybe even cancelled altogether. But fortunately, we still have a lot of things we can do or better yet — get to do. Like spending more time with our family, catching up on reading a book, finishing projects around the house. Maybe these aren’t exactly on your list, but they are on mine. There is one other thing that I am really looking forward to. Something that is patiently waiting out there to create a memory, a feeling, an escape.
Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you’ve been anticipating that first trip down the creek in your kayak or wading out into the cool flowing water to fish for smallmouth bass. Looking up into the tree tops. Searching for the eagles who have made this place their home. Before too long, that opportunity will be here and I hope you can get out there. Out on the water with the warm sun on your shoulders, the gentle breeze in your hair, and the sound of rushing water crashing against slabs of limestone.
As we all find a new normal, I can’t help but think how our current situation is similar to our hidden gem. After a harsh winter when the snow melts or a rainy spring season comes, the banks of the creek swell well beyond its borders and the flood waters keep us away. But with time, those same waters creep back down inside her banks and the creek returns to the steady flow we remember.
That first time you get back out there, on the creek, you anticipate that changes have happened. You know that things are going to be different. Your favorite sandbar where you would look for crinoids or skip rocks might have been washed away, or a giant sycamore that has stood on the bank for years might have been uprooted and is now blocking your normal route down the river.
But you adjust. You find a new sandbar and maybe that sycamore forced you to take a different path that leads to a new discovery. And so will we after all this is over. I’ll pass along some advice I was once given — when things get rough, keep your paddle in the water. And remember, when the time is right and you need a little escape from it all — don’t forget there is a hidden gem right here in your backyard waiting just for you.
Aaron Selby is a board member of Friends of Sugar Creek and an avid canoeist.