When I was a young girl, maybe four or five years old, I remember the day the “outdoor ended up in the backyard.” I remember running to the backyard because two critters had escaped their murky outdoor environment in order to join the beautifully clear, blue one.

We had hundreds of questions as me and my sister held hands while looking into the clear blue pool in our back yard where we discovered the outdoor escapees. My mother was grossed out and doing the squealing dance on the patio while my dad grabbed a net and approached the pool.

I laid down on the edge of the pool to get a good look at what was in there. On the surface of a pool was an adorable fluffy yellow duckling. I started laughing because my mom was squealing over an adorable duckling. “Get it! She shouted towards my dad.” And then my dad put the net into the deep end of the pool. I thought, oh dear, he is not going to catch the duckling way down there; his aim is way off. Then I realized he wasn’t going after the duck, something else was in the pool.

Hidden in the deep end of the pool was a bluish and green water snake. I asked, “How did they get there?” My parents were not too clear how these creatures found our pool but it was generally agreed that these fluffy and slinky critters came from the creek behind our fence.

While I had always heard the sound of water, I was never so aware of the creek hiding behind our fence as when we discovered the duck and the snake in our crystal clear pool. My dad slipped the leave-catching-net under them and then lifted them out of the water and threw them over our fence, returning them to their home. I peered through the crack of the fence but couldn’t see them any longer. But I knew that behind this wooden fence existed a creek where ducks and water snakes lived and and imaged what other things could possibly live beyond the fence.

I asked if I could swim in the creek that day instead of the pool. My mom said that the creek was not a safe place. It took children away and swallowed them up and was filled with garbage, pollution, and snakes. She urged, “Why don’t you just swim here today where the water is clear, clean, and still?” I looked back at the pool and my father was now cleaning the leaves out of the pool that had blown in while we were asleep.

I have spoken with many people about their accidental bump with nature that happens now and then. All of the stories are filled with wonder and excitement at the natural discoveries that eventually surround us, whether invited or not. I invite you to discover something simple and interesting in the natural world around you!

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Written by Emily Thunberg — July 09, 2013

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