In 2005, our family of two packed a moving van in Texas and started the cross-country trek to Delaware. We pulled into the driveway of our new home in a state that I was seeing for the first time. During that whirlwind of a week, we bought a car and a lot of Chinese take out, and we made our first trip to White Clay Creek State Park. Now, seven years later, the car is gone and so is my affinity for Chinese food – but the rocky banks of the White Clay Creek keep me coming back.
In 2006 we welcomed our first son into the world. We dipped his bare bottom in the cool waters at the ripe old age of three months. Twelve months later we introduced our daughter to the tradition… on her first week home from the hospital. And now as the summer sun is beginning to warm the sandy shores, our youngest son is joining the adventure and testing the waters (on his own) for the first time. Time together in the park has become a significant part of our family tradition. It adds a critical rhythm to our chaotic lives and reminds us that beauty and wonder are an important part of our time here on earth.
“Again I resume the long
lesson: how small a thing
can be pleasing, how little
in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind
and bring it to its rest.”
– Wendell Berry, Sabbaths
We have found rest on many occasions, by the still waters and green meadows of White Clay Creek.
In the summer of 2007, every Wednesday evening we would pack a picnic and enjoy live music as our toddler bopped to the beat in front of the bandstand. We met some of our closest friends on the grassy hill at the Carpenter Park Summer Concerts.
That was also the year that we identified all of the trails that would accommodate our double-wide jogger. I was particularly fond of the Creek Road trail and its glorious flatness. After a long run we would often reward our screaming children (and ourselves) with a dip in the cool waters near Yeatman Station Road just off of the Pennsylvania “hiking trail”. (download a map here)
The Chestnut Hill trail at the Judge Morris Estate is one of our favorite places to walk in the winter. Its tight trails make it more suitable for hiking with a baby-backpack. A narrow sled slides nicely over the hills and through the woods…
We have begun and ended many days within the boundaries of this state park… breathing in the glorious smell of honeysuckle, waiting for fish to bite, listening to the crickets chirp as the sun sets. It is the place where we are inspired, the place where we imagine, and the place where we connect with each other.
White Clay Creek State Park is an unquestionably beautiful place to visit, but the memories we have attached to its trails and waters make it special to our family. Find a state park near you and cultivate a tradition that adds beauty and rest to your family life.