Thames River, ON - Angela Efstratudakis
My Watermark is the Thames River, Ontario.
When I was young at the river, I walked along our secret path and followed closely with my aunt and my cousins. Clustered together, dodging branches, I occasionally screamed when large black insects approached and would run astray. These were lazy, summer days when the dampness from the heat clung to my skin and I could see the slope and the river just below, always on my side.
When I was young at the river, I chattered as I moved forward on the path. Sometimes, I would just enjoy the silence of our adventure and the trust and the happiness. It was always hot outside but the shade, of the trees growing randomly and densely and purposefully along the river, protected me. I knew that I would soon put my feet in the water.
At the river, I looked expectantly on the ground. I stepped with caution over jagged rocks and looping roots and rabbit holes. I watched for flowers I needed to save. My aunt detected patches of vine leaves and greens that she would later gather for dinner. The river flow was always gentle and cool and fresh on my side.
A wonderful grassy expanse and then, the river comes alive. My eyes take in the view that emerges from our hidden journey. When I was young, the walk along the river seemed endless. I just wanted to play at Gibbons Park, along the river – swim in the pool, or play in the park, or feed the ducks. But the path along the river, I remember.