“Strolling” Down a River

by Mark Stash

Perhaps this column should be called “reminisce” instead of “my own words” at times. I find myself being reminded of earlier times in my life through the words of contributing writers to the magazine. One such article in this issue really caught my eye, and my heart – “Listen to your feet: A summer stroll in a creek,” written by Derek Doeffinger.

Have you ever just walked in a stream on a hot summer day? Just to get your feet wet and cool down? There’s something liberating about the experience. Maybe it’s because when we were children our parents would remind us “don’t jump in the puddle, don’t get all wet.” We rebelled in a way by doing the exact opposite, and whether you’re a child or an adult, the act of exploring using this method is oddly satisfying. And freeing. As singer/songwriter John Fogerty opinionated about the song “Proud Mary” with the idea that rollin’ on the river was “obviously a metaphor about leaving painful, stressful things behind for a more tranquil and meaningful life.” Strolling down a river can give one the same effect.

I grew up in an idyllic setting in a rural part of Northeastern Pennsylvania. We had acres and acres of woods surrounding the house, and if you’re an outdoor person, it was heaven. Taking a short walk down an old road that had become a trail in the woods would bring you to a beautiful stream named Harveys Creek, a tributary of the Susquehanna River. We would play in that creek, sometimes try to catch fish, and just explore all the nooks and crannies. There were sections of the waterway where you could safely walk through it and cool down on a hot humid summer day. At times we would take our shoes off and feel the slippery stones beneath our feet. Other times we’d play it safe and wear old sneakers. The old growth forest of hemlock trees, maples and oaks lined the banks, cooling the landscape.

Fast forward to the Finger Lakes, and I think about taking my children up Taughannock Creek below the falls, experiencing a Tully limestone creek bed that could get very slippery when wet if you weren’t careful. It still brings me joy, remembering the happiness in my childrens’ faces as they felt the freedom of the water and left any cares behind in the pleasantly rushing waters winding their way to Cayuga Lake.


E-mail Mark with questions or comments at mark@lifeinthefingerlakes.com


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