I've been back to my old stamping ground. Funny how some things are quite different from how you remember them, and others give you such a jolt because they are just the same.
The creek at the back of our house was wide, full of logs left where they fell, mud, eels and only visible once you sat under the willows that almost completely shaded it. I used to go down the bank from an early age and fish for eels with bread and a bent pin. This me, at about four.
I could lie in bed and hear the pukekos and morporks in the trees, and the stock trucks as they engine-braked down the hill to the old single-lane wooden bridge at the bottom, rattled across and then ground slowly up the other side.
When it flooded, it was a completely different personality; broad, tan, oily and viscously exciting. We loved it when it actually flowed over the bridge. Eventually they replaced it with a high, long, metal bridge, but we used to play pooh-sticks or fish off the old one until long after the 'unsafe' sign was up and you could see the creek between the huge square wooden beams.
But now look at the river. Tamed out of all recognition, antiseptic and with a 'walking track' beside it. But there'd be nothing for me to see, even if I was to go walking there...