My only three granddaughters and I went on a special Creek Walk at Blue Limestone
Park on Saturday afternoon on June 14, 2014. Why note the date? It is the one where
I truly felt I changed their sweet, little lives. I asked if they would prefer, as we drove
past the beautiful new Big Toy, gym equipment installed at this ‘ancient park’ to play
The unified answer was, “No, Nana!” The M & M girls, who are only 3 and 5 years old,
sang those lovely words out loudly. As they finished, their soon (next week) to be 10
year old sister, said these heart-warming words to this humble, nature-loving ‘hippie’
from the seventies,
“Nana, we look forward every year to being able to explore along the creek, cross over
the rocks and go under the train tunnel!”
Lara made me burst in pride, looking in my rearview mirror at her, my little step-
granddaughter, who is mine as well as others’. I said in reply,
“Thank you, Lara! This means so much to me!”
She came back instantly,
“You are the ONLY one who does this with us!”
Landen had gone off to be with the other two grandsons, Micah and Skyler, into the
land of video games and boys’ interests at my oldest daughter’s house. I was having
a good time, this day, with the ‘promise’ given at the onset to get ice cream cones
for three out of four of us, while Marley, whose ‘tummy hurts’ when she eats dairy
foods, will either choose a sherbet or a cookie, at our local place.
What did we find on our walk?
We found the light shining so brightly through the train trestle that I could not
capture through my camera lens, the brightly lit yellowish green still Spring like
branches and silhouettes up ahead of our journey. I took pictures of Lara, carefully
placing each foot upon the next rock, one by one, telling us behind her, of which
ones were ‘wobbly’ or ‘rocking back and forth.’
I helped my other two, sometimes having to hold their hand, putting my foot in
a simple sneaker, down into the clear and rushing creek water. They were filled
with a different kind of trepidation, I sensed a change in their development from
last year’s walk. They were more aware of the ‘danger’ of falling onto rocks and
the sense of imbalance to the stones. They had had more recent bumps and bruises,
evidenced on Marley’s shin and Makyah’s cheek. Little light bluish bruises, which
each carried their own story.
When we reached the place where they have to lean on the cold, damp wall of the
trestle, built of blue limestone rock, the oldest, Lara, was in the lead. She asked
why there would be mud up here, on the ‘shelf?’
I told her that sometimes the waters must have been higher or the wind roaring
through the tunnel, had brought mud upon the place we were walking. I also
told her the truth,
“Nana doesn’t really know the answer to that question, just a guess!”
When we got to the other side of the tunnel, to me, it is like a ‘fairy land.’ We saw
birds swooping, cheerily greeting our arrival here I saw so many branches of trees
leaning in, roots rising up and then arches created by low slung trees, bent into
bows. When they were under an arch, I asked the trio of girls to turn around.
They immediately did, knowing my camera was ready to capture this moment.
Lara, placing her arms around both the girls, showing the living definition of
‘sisterhood.’ The light filtering through the combination of hues of deep green,
light yellowish green and shadows made an entrancing photograph.
Mentally, I noted, three copies need to be made.
You see, I may not share the photos of my adventures with you, but I make
miniature albums of 36 pictures for each of the six grandchildren. They come
and take one of the recently made ones, sit and look them over. Their parents
make cd’s and videos on their cell phones, while I make the picture books that
let them know what seasonal adventures ensued during the past months.
Once in awhile, lately, the five year old, Marley has been curious about my first
husband, their “Poppi” who they did not realize was married to me, ‘once upon
a time.’ She asks to see photographs of our wedding, our days of young parent-
hood, raising her Daddy and her Aunt Carrie. Marley was thoughtful, again,
yesterday. She asked,
“Did you bring my Daddy here, when he was a little boy?”
I told her,
“Yes! In those days, there were tons of tadpoles or pollywogs, in these little
ponds that are back here, behind the big lake. The kids would bring buckets,
even ones I babysat, and we would all explore this area. Your Daddy, when
he was in 6th grade was allowed to come here on his bicycle and fish in the
Blue Limestone ‘lake’ that really is a ‘quarry.'”
I asked, as we climbed over a fallen tree, the little ones studying a spider,
bright, almost ‘neon’ green moss, and some little toadstools growing on the
side of it:
“Do you want to know what a quarry is?”
They all three listened as I explained how the Ohio Wesleyan University and
other buildings around their hometown had blue limestone that had been
‘mined’ from first the big ‘lake’ and then, later the smaller holes that became
other ‘lakes’ surrounding where we were walking beside.
We reached a ‘break’ in the trees, walked to the edge of the creek, finding in
the dirt, hoof marks of deer and also the smaller prints of raccoons and one
set of bunny tracks. I gathered them together and we all ducked under a low
slung branch, pointing across the creek, the separated undergrowth, the
path where the deer ran through the woods. We also could see, with a little
turn of our head, an opening where you could see the blue-green, almost
turquoise colored water of one of the more shallow quarries. I pointed this
“Your Daddy, Aunts Felicia and Carrie liked to swim in that ‘pond.'”
Oh boy! What a “can of worms” I did not foresee opening, with that remark!
I am sure you can guess, they wanted to go right across that creek and jump
into that smaller quarry!
I reminded them that their parents had bought a YMCA pass to the pools,
both indoors and outdoors. That, in those days, the possibility of algae and
other more dangerous bacteria were not so common. After all, this would
have been over 20 years ago!
They are such respectful children, allowing me to side track them, letting
them to think about taking off their shoes to dangle them in the creek
I had them wipe their faces first, arms next, systematically going from
the top of their bodies to their feet, when we got back to the car. Then,
we carefully placed their special little mementos of their creek walk on
the passenger seat of the car: wild lilac flower branches, three hickory
nuts that had been cracked open, halved neatly to reveal an inner design
that Lara found fascinating, the other younger ones chiming in that they
also “needed one of those!” and the wild daisies for their mother.
Then, having cleaned up, we ran down or rolled down, depending on
our age, the hill leading to the place where we would cross the parking
lot and play on the Big Toy!
Later, while sitting and savoring our treats, we were gazing, all four of
us, westward. There were first appearing, cotton candy blend of pink
and azure blue billowing clouds, then an orange-ish golden hue, and
finally a fire igniting across the sky.
When we got home, we all looked up at the waning Full Strawberry Moon,
the clear dark sky lit up with its presence. I said out loud, “Thank you,
God for this beautifully perfect day!”
Lara, who attends church more often than not, with her local father’s
mother, (Grandma) exclaimed: (I am not making this up!)