But when I played with Barbies, it wasn’t just the trademarked dolls. It was anything and everyone under the sun, that could ostensibly fit in.
And there was one set of dolls – NO idea what they were, but there was one that was a mermaid, and I loved her. Her flowing whitish-blonde long hair led me to name her Sylvia.
The twains met in 1982, as I was staying in Lake George once again. I’d always loved the sound of the creek. When I’d go to sleep there, I’d look out the window and see “the scary tree” (TM young me), and though it was terrifying, the fact that it was just before The Lake brought me amazing comfort.
Yet as much as I loved the lake itself, beyond the tree, was a creek. The rumbling waters of it was the only sound when you went to sleep in Hewlett’s Landing (my grandparents’ place), aside from the noise of cars going across the bridge – across the creek.
What a wonderful sound to this insomniac’s ears. Bubbling, coursing, moving, 24/7. So incredibly comforting, and I think maybe it spoiled me a bit.
One morning in 1982, I woke up and really wanted to play with my dolls. And though I was too young to walk down to the lake by myself, I was allowed to play in the creek.
And what a magical place it was. Right in my grandparents’ backyard, yet with the added mystery and awesomeness of running under the bridge that used to shake the summer house when people drove over it.
This one particular morning, I took great joy in placing Sylvia on the water, and watching as the water took her in its wake. Currents rushed, and so did Sylvia, as she performed her best “Anne of Green Gables” “Lady of Shallot” impression.
It was a beautiful morning, full of innocent fun. But I never truly appreciated its majesty, until 30 years later, I walked home to a place that ran over a creek. Josh and I visited it, when he first moved out. Now, we have to walk over it every time we want to get back to our apartment.
Tonight, I walked home alone, as Josh is visiting his family in California. Though I was walking with a steadfast pace, I just had to stop when I heard and saw the creek. Earlier in the day, I saw a little girl in a bathing suit, just wading and playing.
Experiencing the magic.
Creeks are no oceans. Not lakes, even. But they are magical. When I saw the little girl playing in it, I felt that – her joy and wonderment. Because creeks are awesome. Little tiny rivers, moving at a rapid pace, flowing over the rocks.
When I went home tonight, I stopped and looked, and listened to the rushing water. It’s so freaking easy to take for granted, things like creeks. Yet that is the exact reason I wanted to live out here, in Manitou. Not for the creeks per se, but for the magic.
And tonight as I stopped and looked at the rushing water, heard it – life cynicism aside, I wished that I had a Mermaid Sylvia to rush down the ersatz river.