Monday, June 30, 2014

Forbidden Paradise

I mentioned the Sewer Creek Woods in my last post, so I thought I'd better write about it. I don't know why it had that name. There was a small creek that ran through it, and it didn't look as bad as I have pictured it. It was clear and their were craw dads living in it. We were not supposed to go to the woods, and were especially warned about stepping into the creek.
Our street, Sells Avenue, ended at Hopkins Street, and Hopkins Street ended at the railroad cutting, which had created wonderful red clay cliffs. You could make your way down a path through the cliffs, cross the tracks and take another path through the opposite cliffs and there you were, with Sewer Creek Woods right in front of you. The woods were mostly scrub pine, bushes and a few real trees. The red clay ground, before you entered the woods, which were set in soft sand, would dry up in the summer, making interesting patterns of cracked pieces of clay. I liked to pry these pieces out of the ground to see what I could make with them, but they just crumbled when they were handled.
In the woods, we just explored the terrain, finding interesting stones, some with crystal embedded in them, bits  of colored glass from who knows where, and mica, which you could peel apart.
My older brother collected chameleons, which he kept in wooden and screen cages. We would catch flies to feed them and got quite good at snagging them live in mid-air.
My older brother and sister had an ongoing, evenly matched feud most of their childhood, both of them smart and clever. He had taken over a large closet in the central hall. Our father had given him an old desk. Billy had wired the closet to install a lamp and had "found" an old telephone which he had tied into  the house phone system. My sister and I were forbidden to enter, naturally, so we kept snooping every chance we got, trying not to leave evidence. But he knew.
One day we found a map, carefully coded. It looked like a treasure map, with arrows. It didn't take Mary Lucille long to break the code. Decoded, it contained the Sewer  Creek Woods! Once there, the map told us, you needed to locate a certain tree, take a specific number of paces in the direction the arrows pointed to, then turn another way, and take another number of paces there, etc., etc., and you would find The Treasure, which was marked on the map with a big "X." The anticlimactic result is that we flew to the woods, found a lot of trees, paced in all directions and found nothing. Our brother looked smug that evening, but I don't think we ever talked about it. We knew he'd planted the map for us to find, but we'd had a good time anyway.
We have a wonderful few acres of woods across the street It was full of children all year long, finding their own treasures and exploring nature, sneaking smokes, and who knows what else.  Every kid should have a place like that, with or without a "sewer" creek.

1 comment:

Expat Hausfrau said...

I love these stories. You need to get cracking on publishing "The Long Summer". I can help you the next time I'm home.