I don't remember how old I was, probably various ages between eight and thirteen. Sometimes, when I needed to get away by myself, I walked to the southwest corner of our 4.5 acre Illinois property, where our field of clover and alfalfa met two adjacent cornfields. Between the cornfields, a ridge of earth and long grasses marked the boundary.
By July, I could disappear between the fields, hidden by cornstalks, and walk what seemed like a mile to another confluence of hedgerows--a small patch of meadowy-soft tall grasses, and an old oak or hickory shading part of it. Seems like on at least one occasion, I found the grass beneath that tree matted neatly down--a deer's bed. I sat in my own spot of grass beneath the tree with a sandwich, a book, and a journal, and let time simply pass.
I don't think I fully appreciated that place, or I would have gone more often. I remember noting from season to season, the hedgerow seemed to get narrower, a few more inches here and there plowed under by the farmers on either side. I became afraid of foxes, coyotes, or worse, ticks. At some point all my experience with nature became clouded with the knowledge and worry of things out to get me--the knowledge of good and evil, and I let it chase me out of the garden.
And now I wish I could go back--that probably goes without saying. I regret not living there more, not inhabiting that nook in the fields more frequently. I lived in the house there for ten years before going to college. I lived there two more summers during. But I didn't live in the land enough, while it was available to me. Nothing that private is available to me anymore. But it doesn't have to stay that way.