May 20, 2020

Down by the Crick – Denise M. Ford

Often writing beckons to me, “Come let’s go on an adventure, let’s explore!” Other times it cries out with open arms, “Yes, here I am, let me be your respite, let me be your refuge.”

Writing calls out, sitting with me like an old dear friend, waiting to hear what needs to be said, what strains to be shared. What needs to be captured from my ricocheting thoughts or what waits to be gently laid down for that particular time.

For me it’s as if she takes my hand, pulls me into a forested area with a familiar earthy smell, with a bending mossy covered bank…down by the crick.

I know, you might say, “it’s not a crick, it’s a creek!” Pardon my small-town roots in which I have only and will forever call my quiet place by the secluded stream…down by the crick.

A safe haven where I choose to step onto the wobbly rocks that I dislodge in my hasty crossing to the other side. Or I can immerse one foot on a log that extends haphazardly above the water waiting for the ultimate splashing or crushing of daredevil feet.

My words may follow the movements of a minnow darting below the surface to follow the spark of light that teases it to another pile of pebbles near the embankment. They might slide down and whirl around into the eddy at the bottom of the twig dam just beyond the curve under that willow.

When I go “down by the crick” I find a sweet release. An intake of breath so complete it feels like a swoosh of indescribable resuscitation. I am filled. I am ready to pour out, to share, to follow the current of the words that rise to the surface.

Sometimes I like to invite a companion on my sojourn to the crick. A faithful scriber who recognizes the earnest desires of a writing soul and will kindly bestow words of wisdom as guideposts on my trail to the crick.

I enjoy hooking arms with Thoreau when I am seeking to stir my writing soul,
“These motions everywhere in nature must surely be the circulations of God. The flowing sail, the running stream, the waving tree, the roving wind—whence else their infinite health and freedom.  I can see nothing so proper and holy as unrelaxed play and frolic in this bower God has built for us.”

It often endears words to me, when I realize God has gifted writers with not only perspective and insight on how to interpret the world but with the refined ability to accept their present surroundings and create stories or commentaries about them. Wherever I am, whoever I see, whatever I experience, however I question it… this becomes my discipline.

I suppose I am laying bare the way I write. I admit I lack the standard schedule or agenda of a writer defined by deadlines. I have experienced that, having worked in public relations and as a journalist on long ago writing paths. However, I now follow a determined pursuit of providing words which require unwrapping. I listen, I linger, then I am led.

Down by the crick.

Another favourite companion that often goes before me to carefully clear the path and possibly lift up those straggling branches that could poke me in the eye, is John Muir. I love the cadence and passion of his words as he speaks and seeks to motivate others through his times spent in nature.

“This sudden plash into pure wilderness—baptism in Nature’s warm heart, --how utterly happy it made us!  Nature streaming into us, wooingly teaching, preaching her glorious living lessons, into us. Here, without knowing it, we still were at school; every lesson a love lesson, not whipped, but charmed into us.”

Down by the crick.

It’s my method of rearranging myself toward writing at any particular time. I picture playing by the crick in the park of my childhood days. Conjuring up imaginary creatures that fought against the rivals of the land, the foes that had to be vanquished. Developing characters from skittering bugs that landed on the slimy, slick surface or buzzed through the quietude of my isolated crick cove.

Down by the crick.

Where I hope to be most days. Where I want to be amidst the chaos of life. How I need to be to allow the words to unravel from within and become a gift to others.

I hope you too, will come and join me… Down by the crick.

The crick in Macungie, where I grew up...


  1. Lovely! it was a fun way to peek inside your process.

  2. The name Macungie in itself is enticing, but unfamiliar to me, so I googled it and discovered it’s in Pennsylvania. You really took me along on your writing journey, knapsack, notebook, Thoreau, inspiration and all. I especially enjoyed the crick, because we had one of those in our wilderness backyard when I was about 7-9 years fo age. I too could take a trip back there with pen and paper in hand. Thanks, Denise, for sharing your beautiful and inspiring writing.

  3. Thanks for sharing your journey into your time by the "crick", and how those moments and memories inspire you to write. Such beautiful writing!


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