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 Still and cold …

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 Little Crum Creek flows on




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A few towns south of the water’s trickling spring, an illuminated fountain in Ridley Park Lake makes a holiday scene of Little Crum Creek.


Suddenly spring overwhelms the senses with a conviction that winter is past.

Even the flurry of sycamore trees floating feathery seeds down on mounds of blooming snowdrops seems a distant memory.  

The seeds have all fallen.  And those snowy white flowers have been wholly succeeded by brilliant suns of lesser celandine lighting the streamside from their blanketing habit of green.

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Now the ground is drizzled with darkened drops of a red maple’s fallen flowers.

The crabapple tree shows its first young leaves.

And the twisted boxelder once again suspends its tasseling flowers over the rocky stream.

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Up on the banks, by the quickly filling, but not yet blooming, tangle of multiflora rose, where the recently woken woodchuck feeds each morning, modest hedgemaids, long awaited and soon gone, inch up to the world their hidden floral adornments.

Washing over it all in a moment is the sound of what seem to be splashing creek chubs.  

Racing into the shallow riffles, wriggling out of water upon the dry sides of rocks, and scattering banded schools of smaller minnows,  they make hasty wakes up and down the way.

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A sympathetic viewer is easily smitten … overwhelmed, even … by so much to witness at the start of a third spring sharing some Little Crum Creek.

Then an erratically fluttering cabbage white  instantly lifts the vision and scatters it across the slim, crowding woodland with a renewed promise of still more to come.

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An earthquake on Tuesday (August 23, 2011).

A hurricane on Saturday & Sunday (August 27-28, 2011).

And Little Crum Creek isn’t any worse for wear.

The earthquake shook ground up and down the east coast, felt here by some but not by others.

Meanwhile Hurricane Irene pruned a lot of leaves and dead branches along these banks, bent a few small trees, and flattened some weeds.

But, despite over 5 inches falling, the creek itself didn’t rise so high in the steady rain. Nor did Ridley Lake, just downstream in Ridley Park.

As a short stream, just over 3 miles long, Little Crum Creek is flashy and fills more dramatically in heavy rainfall over a shorter period of time.  In fact, it rose higher in a storm nearly two weeks ago (August 15, 2011) than it did in Irene.

Surrounding streams, however, accumulating more runoff over greater distances, responded more dramatically to the hurricane.  Darby Creek, Ridley Creek, and Crum Creek (into which the Little Crum flows) each flooded its banks in places.

Lots of folks stopped by the falls of Crum Creek, along Yale Avenue in Swarthmore PA, to see this unusually high flow of water over the old stone dam.

Hopefully, you can get a sense of the water’s response to Irene in this video of comparative views from the falls at different rates of flow:


Today is sunny and calm.

Little Crum Creek resumes its normal variations.

New post in a couple days or so.


We can discover a lot more about Little Crum Creek:  what it is, where it’s been, how it’s going.


Meet me on the new page for a ramble through time and town. 

Don’t worry, I have maps!

Suddenly, it is spring.  Along Little Crum Creek, yards are bursting with the green from trees and wild ground mulch of autumn’s leaves.  This is happening all over southeastern PA.  So maybe this hidden little share of the creek between suburban rows of homes is easy to overlook.  But there is so much to see!