Lick Creek

By Sarah Marty-Schlipf

November 6, 2017

Lick Creek

My niece Charli, eight years old, is crouched in the creek, peering into the sunlit shallows, her face and arms and loose gold curls spangled with light. Around her, the shaggy green woods are alive and trembling. Cardinals sail from branch to branch, singing. A breeze tousles the cottonwoods, sending down fine white seed tufts like snowfall in early summer. Minnows gather and part at her pink sneakers. Charli is still, hands cupped at the surface, waiting. 
I watch from my rock perch in the shade, my feet in deep water. Lately I’ve been making lists. Things growing in my garden—lilies, lettuce, peas… Things I’m grateful for today—sleep, toothpaste, bees… Things that comfort me—laundry on the line, the dog’s fur under my fingers, a palm full of berries still warm from the sun… The lists are a buffer, a little breathing room inside the clenched fist of depression that has gripped me for months. 
Aunt Sadie, she says later, help me move this rock. We turn it over and let it crash. Silt billows. A crawdad scoots out of the darkness. Charli shouts, delighted, and something loosens around my ribs, finally, and I gasp. An open window, a tent unzipped to daylight, a single-track trail leading out of the woods.

Comments (17) - Post a Comment
Lovely. I feel I am with you, seeking that path.
Jan Priddy at 8:12am EST - November 6, 2017
Thanks for this.
Scott at 8:30am EST - November 6, 2017
Really nice. I can just picture the scene.
Tracy Line at 8:54am EST - November 6, 2017
Reading, "Something loosens around my ribs, finally, and I gasp." caused me to remember the instant this happened to me, too. Thank you. It is a gift to feel that release again through your words.
Beth Howard at 9:51am EST - November 6, 2017
The imagery lives in your essay. I accompany you into the light through your neice's delight.
Suzanne at 9:59am EST - November 6, 2017
What they all said, and then some. Thank you for sharing yourself
becky at 10:06am EST - November 6, 2017
Thanks for your kind words, everyone.
Sarah Marty-Schlipf at 10:28am EST - November 6, 2017
Lovely, Sarah! Thank you for these words.
Kate Hopper at 11:20am EST - November 6, 2017
"Help me move this rock."

Five essential words.

Vivid, evocative scene. Thank you, Sarah.
Laurie Klein at 11:49am EST - November 6, 2017
This is beautiful Sarah, thank you so much for sharing. I think your writing just became for readers like myself what that moment was for you.
Tamara Lang at 5:20pm EST - November 6, 2017
I grew up in a rural area and stood looking in creeks and ponds like your niece. Thank you for taking me back!
Gladys Strickland at 8:37pm EST - November 6, 2017
Lovely! Writing as noticing as mindfulness as living as antidote for depression, so beautifully captured.
Karen at 6:03am EST - November 7, 2017
I appreciate Laurie Klein's insightful comment - it enriched my reading.
Scott at 6:43am EST - November 7, 2017
Beautiful, full of life and also openness about the locked room of depression. Thank you.
Len Leatherwood at 10:15am EST - November 7, 2017
This is lovely! Thank you!
Katie Eber at 2:08pm EST - November 7, 2017
Thank you, Sarah! I appreciate the images and emotions. I am working on a textbook that isn't going to be a textbook for a course that isn't going to be a course. I am trying to make it about experiences (not just book learning) and I am calling it Nature of Illinois. This piece tells part of the story I want students to live.
Jon Hoekstra at 7:14pm EST - November 7, 2017
Lovely, Sarah. The evocation of emotion and imagery are just beautiful.
Marcia at 6:19pm EST - November 8, 2017

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