Bull Creek, Austin, Texas

Like many nature parks in Austin, you have to know where you are going to find Bull Creek.  Austin nature parks are poorly marked from the main roads.  The green "parks and rec" sign, generally hides behind a tree.  Frequently, there is no parking lot, or one that only accommodates a handful of cars.

And that is exactly how I like it.

At Bull Creek, I drove down the winding country lane to the second parking lot, the one farther down.  We walked past the gurgling water, which lathers with shoeless children to the path that lines the creek.

I'm still training Ruby to be quiet on a ramble.  But it's so hard for her.  She is effusive with creativity.  She has several unfinished novels in her head, and when we walk, she often takes one up and continues the story.  The current one involves several ironically named animals who stow away on a pirate ship.  They go on adventures with a ne'er-do-well captain whose menacing nom de guerre covers the fact that his real name is Aloysius Vanderbuttocks, or some such thing.  It is ten-year-old humor, you see.  His name, when she comes to it in the narrative, paralyzes her with giggles.  Her giggles make me giggle, and thusly, we traipse through the undergrowth.

sketch of Bull Creek by David Borden
"Bull Creek," (c) 2013 David Borden
At times, her prattle disturbs my walk; I prefer peaceful strolls-- the chiaroscuro of sounds in the woods:  the dark sounds of water and trees against the light melodies of birds.  I want to hear the faint skitter of a mouse or lizard dappling the grass with a titter of color.  In these times I regret bringing her along.  I want to still my mind, sit on a rock, daydream, be grossly unproductive, and squander my time in all the ways that our culture frowns upon. But when my frustration bubbles to the top, she reaches out for my hand.

She says, "Daddy, I love walking with you."

And the frustration dissipates.  I know that she will outgrow me and my hand as she elongates into a teenager.  I breathe in this moment and decide to savor it.  This is why I take her walking time and time again; I have plenty of days to walk alone in my future.

We meander through this landscape.  Her warm, sweaty hand in mine, she tells me crazy, convoluted stories that unfold like dream-work.

"Which path shall we take?" I ask her when we come to a fork.

She shrugs.  "You decide."

#AustinTexas #family #happiness #inspiration #spirit #nature #love #art #sketching


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