We set out for a visit to Hurricane Creek Park, just off the Highway 216 bridge between Cottondale and Peterson. Rather than taking the awesome new PARA trails, we strolled along the stream using the old Eagle Scout trail. What we found was the commencement address of spring, sparing none of our senses.
A few years ago, a little bird named Hayes told us of the clay we could find along the banks of Hurricane Creek- a white-gray beautiful clay. Sure enough, the clay seeped from the dirt in the banks. I only wish I’d brought a bucket to collect it….
Our kids ranged in ages from 3 to 10- the youngest ones wore their own backpacks for the occasion. The unplanned presence of Pinka provided us with a four-legged mammal’s perspective on the journey.
“If a rainstorm overtook you, which rocks would you use for shelter?”, I asked at one point, remembering the old legends about Native Americans once find sacred spaces along the creek.
We hiked along, observing ferns, tiny buds, lichen, and any flowerings in the making.
The little ones stopped to dam and ford a slim tributary- if a slender sliver of water flowing down the side of a hill can even be called a tributary. They could have lingered for hours, pressing sticks into the miniature waterfalls and watching leaves make their way over the “rapids”.
Prophet watches her friends clamber over creekside rocks.
Creekside portraits abound.
The Eldest mistook the canebrake (or “hair cane”) for bamboo. Fortunately, Amy quickly corrected him.
Resting along a bench donated by the Friends of Hurricane Creek.
Amy and I both paused to press our cheeks against the cold, mossy rocks, reminiscing about times in our pasts when only the cold, hard feel of a stone relieved the unbearable Alabama summer heat.
Gnome explains why she wants to eat something soon- and why eating acorns is something to which squirrels and Gnomes are inclined.
E. filled the sample jar with creek water.
Before we knew it, the grumble in our bellies meant water-testing time had officially arrived. Alas, we started testing without reading the instructions prior to our field tests. This means we learned much more about the importance of sampling methods than the actual water quality of the creek.
For instance, Amy found the oxygenation results rather hard to believe. When we sat down in the grass to review the how-to guide, we quickly understood that we had made the mistake of valuing the field sample itself over the rules of collection. “Isn’t it better that we learn this the hard way so we can use our mistakes to better teach others?” Amy asked. It seemed to me just the right way to look at things.