The wall built into the creek’s bank had been there when the property turned from homestead to farm and again when the farm land was donated and became a park. It was built on the south side of the creek to halt the creek’s migration but the knowledge of who had built it and what it was protecting had evaporated into the collective memory of generations and was now lost.
The Wall was built over a hot dry summer where the Creek had slowed to but a trickle. It was in response to a very wet spring. The Creek had been resistant to its erection immediately; the Wall was a barrier that constrained its ability to change path with each spring flood. The Wall wouldn’t allow the creek to walk slowly south across the landscape as it had for centuries; it would be force to stay in the same place.
After it was built, the Creek felt those tortures every day; it near ceaselessly wanted back its freedom to progress. The Creek strove to find new ways to continue its advance but each attempt to wash the Wall away with a strong current only dug the bend deeper. For spring thaw after spring thaw, the Creek pushed harder against the Wall with little progress except the new pool carved in the bed.
With the halt of progress, there came stability and the banks began to flourish with life. Trees sprouted and grew upon the northern bank, where the Creek had never taken time to look. As the saplings stretched to the sky, the Creek realized that it had never taken the opportunity to watch a tree mature. The southern shore also began to sprout new life and it cascaded over the wall like bangs over a child’s eyes. Before, the Creek’s continual focus on southward migration had kept it looking at its new fertile ground ignoring the path it had forged. Before, it had only looked to conquerable ground seeing everything ahead as nothing more than a step to the next. Now, all that had changed. Now, life’s rich pageant of diversity and interrelations shine over the constant struggle to continually advance. Now, both banks teemed with amazingly complex life and beauty in the shared ecosystem.
As the Creek began to recognize the beauty the wall had brought, it began to look at it in a different light; as a stabilizer instead of containment. It relished the beauty that was born in its stabilized banks and no longer missed the constant march towards a prize always farther than when the journey began. Fish were abundant in the pool and, in the summer, kids came and fished in the shade with their legs hanging over the wall. Sometimes, a mother brought her kids there to swim and laugh; sometimes it was quite and the only sound was the gentle breeze singing through the dried grasses and cattails that lined the opposite bank.
When the first stone fell into the creek bed, the stream took immediate action and softened the ground behind the wall to let it settle further into bank and stabilize it. Sometimes a stone fell into the creek and always, the creek held onto the Wall more firmly.
One year, a knot of tree branches seemed to spring up overnight and a family of beavers moved into the neighborhood. One year, a pair of ducks came to nest under the boughs of a willow along the bank and had been coming back every year since. About 20 years before, yellow flowers had started to creep towards the northern bank of the Creek and now flourished.
The Creek and wall became fast friends and watched it all…