We were at one of our local parks last week when one of the little friends who we were meeting there, came up, brimming with excitement. “Can we go down the creek?” His mum asked me if we went down the creek when we went to the park – I said that we hadn’t before, but I didn’t have any objections to it. It hasn’t rained in a while, so the water levels were low and it’s more of an empty creek bed with a few puddles than anything else, but to small people, it just meant adventure.
They clambered down into the creek, splashed through the water, came running back saying they’d seen a snake, climbed back down, splashed through the water, saw some tadpoles, pointed out a “really giant fly!” on a plant, and then up the other side… where they discovered ANOTHER park with HOUSES.
This was when I realised how much of a magical adventure they were having. I knew that there was another park with houses at the boundary because it’s all part of the same park, and there’s a walking path that we’ve gone along before. But to come at it from the direction of the creek made it look different, so it was like a discovery and they were the adventurers leading the way.
We walked along the park, climbing down into the creek to investigate what it looked like along the way and discussing whether or not crocodiles would live in there and how much water crocodiles need to live in (we do not live in an area with crocodiles or we would have not been so close to the creek!). We did not see any fish, or turtles, but we’re planning on going back another day for more investigating.
There are advantages and disadvantages for children living in a city, but watching them play in the creek reminded me of exploring the creek on my grandparents’ farm when I was little – of course in my memories, that creek is much deeper and more dangerous than the one we were exploring. We went home with wet shoes and two very tired little people who are still talking about their adventure nearly a week later.