A Date with Nature: the Creek by Marlon Price

Clear Lake City

April 2004–All my life I have enjoyed the way that animals behave towards one another, as if they live in a completely different world from the one that humans live in. Animals sometimes can be very entertaining creatures, I love the way that they interact with one another. This is why when I visit Houston I spend a lot of time at the creek.

The creek is behind my cousin’s house in Houston. It is filthy, but easy to enjoy. The water is brown and very shallow. If you ever visit the creek you’ll spot beer bottles, old flat tires, various types of trashes, and a smell so bad it would make a skunk go crazy. The grass is cut once every other month so it grows tall. In truth when it’s not cut it can almost cover up the entire area. People often complain about the cities lack of interesting helping to clean the creek.

My first visit to the creek wasn’t by choice. I was chasing my basketball, because it had rolled down the hill. The ball rolled into the creek, and I sat on top of some rocks trying to grab it for about two hours before I realized it was gone for good. I had lost my focus because a flock of ducks had caught my attention. After this, I started visiting the creek.

Since the day that I first saw those ducks whenever I visit my cousin I can’t stay away. Snakes, geese, fish, rabbits, all types of birds, and a few animals that I am unfamiliar with are creatures I’ve seen. They all behave very well towards each other; in fact, they act as if they are all the same. I like the creek because it serves as a meeting place for the animals and me.

Whenever I feel like relaxing, I go to the creek and spend countless hours there watching the different animals from the railroad tracks. The railroad tracks are very old, rusty, and they don’t look sturdy at all. From the way they look you can tell that a train hasn’t ridden on them in decades. When you walk on them they make a shrieking noise. From the tracks you can see the creek in its entirety, but you have to be careful because they shake often.

I like to throw down bread and watch the birds wrestle for it. The fight normally ends with the birds sharing the small bit of food. It doesn’t seem to bother the animals that the creek is so dirty, and even I sometimes believe that if someone ever cleaned the creek, I probably wouldn’t admire it so much. But then I come back to real world.

You can find big beautiful rocks at the creek, rocks that would get a geologist excited! They come in many different colors and sparkle like diamonds. The stones are shaped like backpacks, which is why many people collect them and put them on display in their living rooms.

Most of the time everyone seems to forget about the bad smell of the creek, that’s until the neighbors get together to have their annual picnic at the park. I like to call it “A Relaxing Day at the Creek,” which is suitable because everyone seems to be relaxed. They listen to music, eat food, drink beer, and play board games. Community leaders take up money claiming that they are trying to clean the creek up so that people can enjoy the neighborhood better. What makes me question their real motives is that when they finish their drinks, they throw the empty bottles into the creek. I guess they are having too much fun to realize they are the ones destroying their neighborhood and most of all, my creek! I often find myself picking up trash from the grounds after everyone has left. Not because I want to, I do it because I feel that one day the animals might get tired of the filth and leave.

I talked to a man named Earl who has been living near the creek for thirty- six years. He told me that when he was younger he and his brothers would play in it while their father caught fish. When I asked him if his children play in the water while he catches fish he replied: “The water is too dirty for them, they might get sick.” He says that he won’t let them go near the creek because it is unhealthy. With the help of the neighborhood and the city he believes that it could once again become the main attraction of this small community and people could once again enjoy the beauty of it.

The main reason I visit the creek is to see the animals. I would feel lonely if they were to all of a sudden stop coming around. The creek has made me realize that animals are such wonderful beings and we as people don’t respect their environment the way that we should. Sometimes I just sit at the creek and remember the days when my brothers and I would take field trips to the zoo and the wonderful times that we used to have. I think that without the creek that the city of Houston wouldn’t be so gorgeous, even with the tall beautiful buildings and the sports arenas. When I wake up in the morning the first thing that I think about is the creek, because I know that when I get there that the animals will be there with open arms waiting to embrace me.

I feel like the animals are a part of me and without them I wouldn’t be able to enjoy life as much. I have made it my duty to protect the animals as much as possible. I have put up signs to keep people from hurting the animals and I have talked the little kids into wanting to play with the animals so that they won’t throw the empty bottles at them. The children love watching the animals so much that they often sit near the creek with me and name the animals.

Rabbits are the most common animals at the creek. We feed them lettuce and sliced carrots and they repay us by letting us pat their backs. Some of the children often find one they like and take it home, until their parents find out and make them bring it back. I thought about taking one of the rabbits myself, but I decided that I would treat them all as my pets.

The creek to me is that special place that everyone can go to and enjoy nature’s peace and quietness. It helps me to relax and enjoy life to the fullest even though it isn’t all that appealing to some people. It makes me happy to know that whenever I am feeling down that I can always go to the creek for comfort. The animal’s love playing in it and I enjoy it for the same reason that they do. I feel that I have a personal connection with the creek because it has shown me that the best things in life aren’t always so glamorous but have a special way of showing its true beauty. I hope someday that others can share my enjoyment and make it a part of their lives also.

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