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The Day I Fell in to the River (youngsters:adventure, 3148 words)
Author: Joe E.Added: Jul 22 2003Views/Reads: 5123/2894Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Jackie, an eighth grade student, reflects on a walk that he took by the river where he meets a magic coyote, gets off the main trial, and falls in to the river.

"The Day I Fell In To the River." 

There's nothing I like better than a cloudy day. Well, almost

You know, I mean the big white puffy clouds that you get with the bright
blue-sky way up above them. And, sometimes birds up above, too, gulls 
coming ahead of the storm, or a flight of long necked geese. We saw an 
eagle once when I was up in Mariposa hiking with Curt and Uncle Alex. 
It disappeared right into a cloud and then came out like miles later on 
the other side. Some of my best adventures have come on cloudy days. 

Like, the time I fell in to the river that was a cloudy day. It must
have around one thirty or so when dad dropped me off at the freeway 
exit. It was late March, the last day of Spring break. It had been 
raining off and on the whole week. All morning, I tried to think of how 
to get away from the house. Can you believe my old man wouldn't let me 
go camping with Curt and his dad?  "There's gonna be a big storm up 
there this weekend, Jackie" he told me. 

"Yea, right. Do you see a drop of rain?" 

"You went to the movies, yesterday!" He told me when I asked for the
five bucks. 

"So. There's only one movie in the world?"  Oh, big deal, he'll drop me
down by the river on his way to town. 

"Now, be waiting here at three thirty, Jackie" he told me. I can wait to
get my license.... 

When I go through the gate at the start of the dirt road, there's s a
fresh smell from the damp earth, and the new green growth. Sunshine, 
blue sky, wind, shadows, and big white clouds are there to greet me. My 
feet press into the soft damp earth. I can't believe how much the 
vegetation has grown since I was down here last time before the rains 
started. To my left there's this big open field with tons of bushy 
green plants, to my right the freeway. As I start down hill, the trees 
begin, lot of oaks and some smaller trees and then, the blackberry 
bushes. There are these other bushes too with tiny pink flowers. 

It's really tight going under the freeway. First of all there's the
shadows, the sound of the traffic over your head. And, then, it gets 
darker. I have to admit, it's a little scary. There's all this 
graffiti. Some guys from the city must come in. And, they are really 
good. There are a couple paintings down here like the ones I saw at the 
art museum in San Francisco last winter. I've never run into any of the 
painters. And they always clean up after themselves, too. You know, 
there's never no paint cans around or nothing. They leave messages for 
each other, too, like, "Peace! The Joker Rules!"  And, "Too Bad You'll 
Never Reach This Level!" They leave some gang markings, too I can't 
tell if they're real or they're just fooling around.  Figure if I ever 
see 'em, I'll just nod hello and keep on walking. 

When I exit the bridge, and go under the railroad tracks, I spot the
river. It's not too wide here, but its moving fast. It's a lot higher 
than last time. Sunlight bounces off the water in millions of tiny 
sparkles as I pick up my pace. I'm telling myself if I really jam it, I 
can make it all the way to the state park. I figure it's almost two 
hours round trip. Last time, we turned back right before a big bend in 
the river. I know the park entrance is just around that bend. Better 
not be late, I'm thinking as I remember the old man telling me, What, 
you can't even tell time, yet, Jackie? 

Funny, how down by the river with the big white clouds, the trees, the
water, time seems to be different. Like, when I come up to the section 
of road that's covered by trees, in the shadows it's like a whole 
different world. It's like you're out of the twentieth century.  Like 
you're connected to the whole universe. I feel like a Greek hero or 
something. Around the bend in the road, I'm expecting one of Robin 
Hood's men, or a Native American. It gets you to thinking what it must 
have been like back then with no cars, walking wherever you go, more 
animals than people. The second time I was down here alone, was when I 
saw the coyote. 

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