I slip on my boots
and slather on bug repellent.

With every step I take
I hear a subtle “crunch”
of the fallen leaves and twigs.

In the distance, I hear
the dog’s barking
and the far-off whistle
of a train.

I continue to pave a path over
fallen logs and knee-high grass
until I stumble
onto the loose rocks
of the creek,
dry now,
and missing its gurgling waterfall,
that dropped
into a whimsical little pond.

Faint memories,
of hauling large rocks
and tossing small pebbles
into the innocent pond,
as if it were a wishing well,
flood me.

Until I am brought back
to reality
with the "splish" of a frog
and the flash of red
from an outgoing cardinal’s wing.

I miss the simple summer days
when I would wander and lie
on the smooth rocks
of the creek bed
and pretend to float with the clouds.

These days, I drown
in homework, sports,
and chores,
in my own home.

And dreaming of the creek
and plunging deep into my thoughts.

Originally published in KidSpirit Online for the Fear and Anxiety issue.

When she wrote this piece, Abigail Kestle was a seventh grader at Saint Patrick Catholic School in Rolla, Missouri. Abigail is an avid reader and writer. She also plays on a St. Louis soccer team based out of her small town. Abigail loves to be outdoors; she has a creek in her backyard and goes to a camp in Michigan for a month over the summer.

Artwork is by Annalee Whitten, age 14.