I grew up wandering in the grass surrounding the brown cedar rancher my parents decided to buy when I was five years old. Despite some of the turmoil in the midst of my youngest years, I always look back on these days with a fond sense of whimsy. I remember how long summer vacations seemed, how endless and full of discovery those three months were.
There were days full of digging up worms, and naming them of course. Planting flowers in the garden with mom, and listening to her tell me the names of all of them. Trying desperately, to remember those names and to know more about them.
Children, are so very curious. Even back then, I wanted to know everything, I wanted to understand the world I walked on in bare feet. I wanted to be close to it, and I was. In the early summer, I would walk down the very long and wooded trail deep in our back yard. On the lucky days, I would find the creek dried up under a makeshift bridge. I think it was a piece of plywood looking back, but in my young eyes it could have been the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. It could have been the bridge to the rest of the world. When it was dried up, those were the best days. It meant I could wander down the creek, walk its windy ways and jump over the giant roots of pine trees when I came across them. I never knew then how much that trail would teach me.
I never knew that while I was climbing trees, following trails and finding the differences in flowers that I was becoming the young woman I am today. Full of questions and wonderment, full of lust for what is around me and what is ahead of me. Never afraid to take the next step. Because I knew that even if I must find my footing on a large fallen tree, I could trust that what I found once I got over it was always worth the climb. I knew at the end of the day that home was just down a scenic path and that I would find my way back no matter how far I went. I didn’t know then that I was setting the theme of my life.
I remember my dad, cleaning out the gutters when that time of year came. I would see the ladder to the roof on the deck, and know that up there was danger. But I could climb it if I was given the okay… and on the days that he let me it was great. I would take this journal I had found at a yard sale with my mom one Sunday. The print on the outside cover was floral, and faded, something you might see on an old couch your grandmother has been trying to get rid of for years. There was a little loop on the cover that you could put a lock and key through. Luckily at six years old I had no need for that amount of privacy. I had no secrets then, and honestly, I don’t have too many now. I’d take a pencil and that journal with me, I adored that book. Sitting next to a skylight, watching the trees and the big blue sky, I started writing. My first poem was called “Trees.” I never stopped writing after that. It has been a constant in my life ever since.
I’m not sure what inspired me to write this, maybe it was just having some appreciation for the “good ol’ days” but I also think it has to do with the importance that I believe is held in a small child’s heart and mind. We become people, so much sooner than I think our parents could ever imagine. We see things through such pure eyes. I am very glad that I have been able to keep some of that with me, that I still have the wonder and zest of that little girl willing to discover whatever was put in front of her. Being in touch with your inner child in such a grown up and fast paced world can really help to balance you, to keep you imaginative. After all, what’s so good about being a grown up anyway?