Here – A Dialog of Place

How many times have I stood here and listened to time’s echoes?

Most of my life has been lived within ten miles of where I was born.  Oh, I’ve traveled some and seen great wonders.  There are plenty of miles under my feet.

But it is to here I always return.  I’ve never been one to make my wanderings more permanent.  I am a creature of here.

I can tell you what used to be here and when that road was built.  I’m that guy.

There is a trail near my office.  A trail by a creek.  Hundreds of people a day leave their offices and apartments to walk or run on that trail, next to that creek.  It’s a nice paved trail with trees and grass and sometimes the sound of water.

I remember a time when there wasn’t a trail here and childhood friends and I trespassed through the orchard to find ourselves on a narrow dirt path that would one day see dog walkers, stroller pushers and runners.  Back then we 12 year-olds moved quickly to avoid the farmer, who rumor had it, chased young trespassers with a shotgun loaded with rock salt.

Back then the dear path we followed sometimes branched down to the creek where you could dip you hand for a drink of cool water.  That was before we learned of what toxins found their way into this paradise of dry grass and fruit trees.

Sometimes when I walk the new trail, I still see those boys on a Saturday afternoon, running from imagined ogres/farmers and stopping to skip stones across the sleepy pools of a dying creek on a summer day.  The freedom and joy of those days.

How can I tell you of the day when this young man drove by the orchard and saw the fruit trees being pulled up and hauled away?  Progress. As my heart sank and my memories remain in my mind alone.  Apartments rose from the ruins of the trees and chain link fences replaced the old rusting broken barbed wire.

For decades local maps held a dotted line that would someday be the “West Valley” freeway.  It was to cut across our creek at a place were we once tried to build a rock dam.  The water rose faster than we could move rocks and in the end we just threw rocks at the water before mounting out bikes and riding off to the Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone.

I was walking on the trail under that new freeway and I thought I could see the vague outline of that old rock dam – not too far from where the pillars of the freeway were driven into and below the creek.  My past buried under tons of concrete so thousands of cars can add their toxins to the pure air of my youth.

How this place has changed.  I’ve changed too.  A bit older, a bit fatter and I no longer eat ice cream cones.  No longer am I that boy who’d run away from home for a Saturday of fun along the creek. 

Now I am just an older office dweller, who after a morning of writing emails, takes a stroll by the creek.  I tell my coworkers and my doctor that it’s for my body’s health and that the goal is 8,000 steps.

But it is really so I can talk to the rocks and ask the trees if they remember me.



About Andrew Reynolds

Born in California Did the school thing studying electronics, computers, release engineering and literary criticism. I worked in the high tech world doing software release engineering and am now retired. Then I got prostate cancer. Now I am a blogger and work in my wood shop doing scroll saw work and marquetry.
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39 Responses to Here – A Dialog of Place

  1. Flo jo says:

    What a beautiful, lyrical post. Getting older means watching the past move on more frequently.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Margy says:

    I echo your sentiments. When I was a kid, my mom used to send us off to play and tell us not to come back until supper time. We used to walk down by the river, for miles, with our ‘guard dog’ – an aging spaniel.
    I didn’t want my children or grandchildren to miss that kind of freedom. I wanted them to be ‘free range’ too. We moved around a lot, but mostly we chose houses that were either on the outskirts of town or in the country, so that we all had places to roam!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kind of sad. There need to be more forbidden trails and orchards for young boys to explore and trespass.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There does. Sometimes I think we’ve taken something important away from our children by not having places like this to explore.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I took heart the other day when my girls were greatly enjoying “urban exploring.” We went someplace with over and underground parking and lots of stairs between the two. There were also small puddles for Joe to splash in. My girls were fascinated by this parking phenomenon. They wanted to explore all the entrances and exits. Later we parked somewhere with a fountain nearby. Upon closer inspection, the fountain flowed into a small lake with two ducks sitting on a wall nearby. They delighted in all of this, even though it was in the midst of a city. Being a country-bred girl who laments the lack of nearby forests, this gave me hope.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. What a beautiful essay – wistful and bittersweet. Sometimes it good to go back to the places of our childhood and other times… hmm.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A creature of here… I will think about that today.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The nostalgia you captured in your post warmed my heart with that bittersweet feeling that comes from knowing these kind of thoughts all too well. But you know what makes me sad? You don’t eat ice cream cones anymore???!! Say it isn’t so!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. CJ Hartwell says:

    Even in prose, your words are poetry, showing a great sense of space and time.
    Keep talking to the rocks and trees. It’s good for the soul.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Debra says:

    Your beautiful piece here creates a very nostalgic mood as I think about some of the places I enjoyed long ago, that although they still remain, have suffered loss due to progress! Our own aging process does indeed change us, too, but I can easily bring back some of those youthful memories. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. dorannrule says:

    This post is fantastic…says it all about the losses in our lives due to progress. We have our memories though and if we close our eyes we can almost float back to those halcyan days of youth.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. A beautiful look back, Andrew. it sounds like you are comfortable being “that guy” and, after all, why not? Happy Monday and enjoy your daily walk.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. That was beautiful, Andrew. I felt your walk and your childhood. Sadness… You’d like Chet Raymo’s The Path. He takes your walk but a daily walk to work and discusses everything he finds along the way. I love that book.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Teressa says:

    Talking to rocks and questioning trees is good for the soul. Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. jfwknifton says:

    A beautiful piece of writing. We used to play cricket where once a carthorse had lived in a field of knee deep 1930s. Now they load lorries with very large pieces of metal that they have welded together to make everybody in their world happy.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Ray V. says:

    I can associate with the idea of pillars of concrete replacing the creek bed. Just like in our lives, progress isn’t always for the better. Often, we walk amongst the concrete that we built and ask the question, “Where am I?”

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Lovely memories, Andrew. Progress is so effective that our children don’t have such memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pied Type says:

    I know the feeling. Wish I didn’t, but I guess it’s the price we pay for living as long as we have.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Relax... says:

    Aw, sweetly nostalgic.. loved it, and as for the pain of *progress*… ouch indeed.

    Liked by 2 people

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