There were woods behind my childhood home-
I got there by going through an overgrown hedge, next to the small cave I made in a wisteria bush. Sometimes on my own, sometimes with a friend.
We’d climb this evergreen with low hanging branches and sweep the forest floor with the lowest branch. I don’t remember many details from childhood, but I remember the swaying of that branch and how it made the pine needle floor smooth below.
We also collected cigarette butts in an old orange soda can. We were obsessed with cigarettes, for some reason. It was the eighties, that might be a good excuse. We’d pretend to smoke the butts, and then collect them in the can: a good deed for the forest, mixed with an odd view of adulthood, and the glamour of smoking.
Probably if you are younger than me, you don’t understand the cigarette glamour. This is a good thing, I think, that there isn’t that same glamour now. But my imagination was a wild thing back then, unbounded. And I loved to imagine what it would be like to be an adult.
Now I try to imagine what it was like to be a child with an imagination,
and wild raspberry bushes up the street
and a pump station that looked like a magical brick cottage to me
and a field across the street with water runoff that were barbie rivers
and turtles found on the side of the road, kept for a week and then returned
and stuffed animals on leashes for walks
and fairies that lived under couches
and 12 foot pools, 18 inches deep that felt like lakes for hours of inner tubing
and of course, the woods behind the hedge next to the wisteria cave –
The woods are condos now.
But I drive by and think of my tree, and how the low branch swept the forest floor clean.