• Leiah Bowden

And Then Everything Changed


I love metaphor. I find it useful.


I also love creeks, streams, and rivers, root tangles and mossy fallen tree trunks, and everything else I find as I walk along those waterways wherever and whenever I can find them. My daily walks along Copeland Creek in Rohnert Park have been one of the three saving graces of this time of COVID isolation. I’ve chronicled the beauty I’ve found there in my facebook posts. I didn’t realize those photos would constitute a historical archive until today.


Last week I noticed trees uprooted and piles of branches along the paved creek path. Today, I was shocked to see a ravaged wasteland of mud piles and tractor tracks where luxuriant plant growth had led down to a meandering flow two days ago. My favorite places here are no more: the curving pebbled bed where I saw robins splashing last year and where I have sat in meditation, and the crossing where kids’ bikes lay last month as the kids played in the willow-hung water.







Three years ago, the town did a bit of dredging to widen the creek: a good thing, managed with very little visual disruption. Poorly informed as I am about local government initiatives, I hadn’t been prepared for this new phase.


So here’s the metaphor: the ravaging of this creek I learned to love as I walked for my health and joy is what COVID has done, destroying what was. I now need to be patient, understanding that new growth will rise.


Today I made a point of photographing the muddy wasteland and walked through as much of the still untouched dry creekbed as I could, because tomorrow it, too may be gone.








I found that there was no sorrow, but a heightened noticing, and a curiosity about what would take its place. All is well.

















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