Cresheim Creek, at its widest, is maybe 15 feet across, and averages a foot or so deep. It separates my neighborhood in Philadelphia from the next one to the northwest, and empties into the Wisshickon, which flows to the Schuylkill, then the Delaware, then the Atlantic. All told, the Cresheim is only 2 and a half miles long. About a ten minute walk away from the house I grew up in the Cresheim turns away from the road it's been following, making a corner around an abandoned hunting lodge, and into Fairmount Park. This is where, on a Mothers' Day a decade ago, my family walked into the woods.  

We had for years risen early on Mothers' Day to make pancakes and eggs while my mom was still asleep, and presented them to her while she was still in bed. Traditional, yes, but essentially boring. This year, now that my brother and I were a little older, we wanted to mix it up. My mother was a nature person; hikes in the woods were a common occurrence, but had become less frequent as my brother became more of a surly teenager and I finally made a friend, so this was our present to her. The day was perfect -- the few clouds in the sky were painted-on white pillows, and the sunlight filtered through the canopy to give the forest that soft green ambience that you see in Natural Geographic photography. There was, if I remember correctly, a slight breeze, and the lovely cool in the shade was occasionally broken up by shafts of light between trees.

 We followed the creek down to its confluence with the Wissahickon. I was young, and invigorated by the beautiful day. I skipped back and forth across the water along rocks, trying to avoid the slippery ones and feeling wonderfully agile. My brother kept closer to the path, but wandered slowly up and down the valley slope along the side. My parents brought up the rear, strolling leisurely and petting the various dogs being walked that day. After a spell we wandered up a hill to where a street looped into the park, and met with a chinese food delivery car. We sat on some logs and ate fried rice.

That was my mother's favorite Mothers' Day.

By    No Comments

So, what do you think?