The woods by my house

My parents house rests at the top of a small hill in the middle of a small valley. When I was younger it was surrounded by tress that grew up out of the mud. I spent a lot of my youth climbing trees and trouncing through the mud, but today it only feels like a few memories remain.

One involves the mud. All of the mud was filled with low growing vegetation too. Sticker bushes, stinging nettles. We used to use the horse tails to assuage the bite of the nettles. You would pluck one and rip it in half and squeeze the juices out onto the newly forming bumps. I’m still not sure if it really did anything to help, but its what we did.

We were mostly well provisioned when we’d head out to traipse through the mud and the forest, the times we weren’t was never because of a lack of available equipment, boots, etc., but usually because the sense of adventure would come upon us too fast. That we had no time to prepare.

When I reflect the memories are always a little muddy, like the terrain I suppose, but I can only ever seem to remember the presence of one brother at a time. Not that much is different now I suppose.

I remember one time when i misjudged the ground and found myself with one foot buried up past my calf high boot. I remember how strong the power of that mud was. In my youth and probably even now, I didn’t have the strength to pull my foot and the boot out. So I had to pull my foot out of my boot, sit down in the mud and pull the boot out of the mud.

The cleanliness of my sock stands out most vivid amongst the colors in my memory. Stark white against the browns and greens of the world around me. Pristine sock and pants ran up from my toes until a harsh line of mud where the boot offered no protection.

I don’t know if you remember or had the same kind of boots that I had, but they had these loops on each side which made them much easier to put on, but also came in quite handy when the boot found itself buried below mud and filling with water. You knew with dead certainty you were going to have a one wet foot all day.

Its situations like this that make up my childhood and the situations like this that we forget are why children come home so muddy sometimes. My parents, bless them, never complained, my mother was always there to make sure as little mud got tracked into the house as possible, but she was also there because she wanted to hear all about our adventures. What a fantastic mother.

Before all the septic work was done when the forest that was my home was still there we used to have a swing set which we got for Easter. We used to get all kinds of awesome things for Easter. After the initial fun of swinging and sliding, because the swing set had a slide attached on one side, and it shocks me now that something as fun as swinging and sliding could ever lose its desire, but that’s how kids are I guess. Once you could swing it was time for a new adventure, a new skill. We would play a game, I think it was my mother or maybe my older brother got the idea or took it from a friend, but we played a game we called hot lava.

In hot lava you had to move all around the yard, like parkour, without touching the ground. You could climb all over the swing set or jump to the sandbox, but you couldn’t touch the ground. Next to the sandbox was a particularly tight group of trees, I’ve never learned what kind.

The trees produced a canopy so dense the ground underneath never got wet. It was a surreal place and I’ve only ever been somewhere similar one other time. You could climb up into the trees from the edge of the sand box and literally move from tree to tree because the canopy was so dense. I have spent hours at a time up amongst the trees.

All of those trees are gone now. The ones so close to the house.

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