P1080515, originally uploaded by www.ian.ca.
P1080445, originally uploaded by www.ian.ca.
You can see more of the photos here.
One of the compelling reason for my return to St James and the purchase of the house we’re in is it would put us in close proximity of Sturgeon Creek. St. James is blessed with this small creek winding through it, from the Assiniboine all the way out to somewhere, out there , well beyond the city. I grew up with this creek, my elementary school a short walk to it, and we often played near it. Only once did someone fall into the creek, in Grade 5, Jason Newman fell in and the extening of my hand to help him out was proof I was worthy of joining the secret club he and a few others had started. We stared at the back of the comic book, calcuatlted the money the six of us would need to buy this sub and drive it down the creek to the river and beyond!
It seeemed every spring the creek would rise and wash out the bridge at Ness and the bridge at Hamilton, leaving Portage Ave as our only link to the outside world. One year someone in a VW bug tried to cross the Ness bridge, the car stalled and it remained on the bridge till the water went down, a shipwreck on the temporary sea.
I love walking down to the creek with Liam, we always seem to see something new. Last night we saw a small school of I think Perch, top feeding on the surface of the water, watched a pair of mallard swim over to the rocks, and then we looked for plastic BB’s under the bridge. It was then we heard bagpipes coming from the otherside of Portage, in Woodhaven. We followed the music through the tall grass, around the mud, stepping over the rocks, only to find it had faded away. Maybe we only imagined it. Exploring more of the rocks on the creek, we finally turned around and head all the way back.We stopped to watch the water fall over the rocks by the mill, and talked about how the mill works. Liam pointed out where the last time he was here, two guys were standing to do some fishing and we both concluded it wasn’t a very safe spot. We noticed the leaves changing colour, falling on the the water, and we talked about why the sky is blue except when it’s a sunset. We were only gone for an hour, but we had fun, felt like were went on an adventure and spent some time together.
It’s my hope that Liam will embrace this wonderful little oasis and grow to explore and appreciate it’s gift. One of the biggest things I grapple with living close to where I grew up is reconciling my childhood experiences with the way things are now. Think back to what I wrote about earlier. I was in Grade 5 when Jason fell in, we were playing around a creek, with no adult supervision. I know, sounds “dangerous” doesn’t it? Perhaps on some small level it was, but no more dangerous when we’d run across Portage Ave to get a slurpee! I lament for the loss of freedom kids these day don’t have, all fuelled by fear. I get told constantly by parents”Yeah but things are so different now.” But are they really?
In the very same spot we had our adventure, was also the site of a tragedy back in the spring. An 18 yr old boy who was close to the edge of the bank, fell in and drowned. Conditions were vastly different than last night, spring run off levels were at an all time high, the current was very strong, and the bank was prone to erosion. But in this new “safer” and “different” times, we don’t think of those things, we just snatch our kids up into our arms and deny them any experience at all, the creek is deemed “dangerous”. But in all my years of being around or aware of the creek, this might be the first time anyone has drowned. I refuse to let one isolated tragedy spoil what this creek offers.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, on childhood, yours or your childs. Please leave me some comments!