Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Outdoors

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.

5 comments:

  1. Sarah,
    This is a beautiful story. Makes me sad to know how much you miss the outdoors here. This June you will have to go spend some time there again, with a sandwich, a book and your journal. Maybe, just maybe you can find a spot of matted grass where a deer slept.

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  2. I do plan on revisiting that spot! Keeping in mind it probably isn't the same since I last visited it. But I'll go explore anyway.

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  3. I had a tree by the lake :) I could show you sometime if you like.

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  4. @chambanachik Awww, thanks. :)

    @Nicole, I would love to see your tree by the lake! I haven't explored the PTC much.

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