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Adams Creek

Adams Creek winds a path from the hills to the east of Oakdale, across fields and pasture land, where it intersects Orsi Road at the edge of town. From Orsi Road, it cuts a gash in the earth for approximately a city block where it meets with an underground syphon, to be piped across town. On an early morning walk, you can hear the constant chirping of birds mingled with the occasional chatter of a squirrel. Most mornings you can hear the crowing of a neighbor's rooster and the neighing of horses and baaing of goats coming from Mo and Doreen Dumalo's ranch across the road. Over the corral fence from Doreen's ranch comes the mooing of cattle. As we wander south toward Sierra Road, the sun peeks over the distant tree-line and ranch dogs bark their greeting as we pass. The braying of a mule says good morning as a flock of pigeons swirl across the early morning sky. On a rainy morning such as this one, you are greeted with the roar of a small waterfall as the creek cascades into the pipeline.

The creek offers quite a study for those who take the time to actually look. On the surface, it only appears as a tree-lined dirt bank falling sharply toward a muddy stream, covered with a tangle of dead tree limbs and berry vines. But for the curious, it hold treasures untold.

One morning I encountered a feral mamma cat while walking Molly, and though cats will normally run from a dog, this black and white beast hunched her scrawny back and stood her ground. Molly, being the dog she is, smiled happily and trotted past the hissing cat to sniff the next tree. Once we were past, I turned to notice the cat carrying a kitten deeper into the brush. She returned seconds later to carry another away from what she considered danger.

On a different day, I spied what we used to call a hobo camp, tucked beneath some low-hanging oak branches and protected from the wind by the concrete siphon check-gate. It gave me a feeling of melancholy as I wondered how the person came to such a condition. While some prefer a hobo lifestyle, I have encountered others who are homeless due to situations not of their own choosing. With new houses going up hundreds of yards from this particular camp, I realized the tenant had chosen wisely. There was plenty of scrap lumber lying around, perfect for campfires to heat cans of beans or soup and keep him warm. The new houses proved to be a double-edged sword, in that the authorities arrived days later to close it down and evict the tenant.

In the warm summer months, hundreds of wild sunflowers decorate the creek bank, mingled with multi-colored wildflowers. The berry vines become covered with small flowers that quickly turn into tasty fruit. While the raspberries are inviting, several trees display yellow “Keep Out” signs for safety reasons. Considering the steep pitch of the bank, if one were to lose their footing, they would likely fall head-first through a jungle of thorns, dead branches and rocks to end in a cold, muddy stream. If they didn't drown, they would encounter the same tangled jungle climbing back out.

While Judy and I were walking Molly a few days ago we saw several young girls play on the opposite bank of Adams creek, drawing in the dirt, tossing rocks at the water, and doing what young girls do for fun when their parents aren't around. Yellow warning signs be hanged. Who cares about yellow signs when you have a world to explore. I will have to admit, if I were still a kid I would have been right there with them, maybe shooting at squirrels with my slingshot or playing cowboys with my Roy Rogers cap-gun. Please God, help us to never lose the ability to pause now and then and investigate the world around us. Who knows, we just might regain some of our youth, and become aware of our Creator's blessings to us.

 

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