NaBloPoMo My Home [ties]

I grew up in the woods outside of Charlottesville, in Virginia.  I wasn't born there, but all my childhood was spent in this house:

Seeing this photo reminds me of the incredible springs, summers, and falls I spent outside at home.  This house is on a 5-acre plot, with a pond (behind the camera), a stream (to the right) and woods extending all around.  In the summer, when the leaves are the thickest, you can't hear the road.

I used to spend every free moment outside, making forts, walking trails I blazed with my father the summer we moved here, and fishing down at the pond.  I developed an active imagination, and I created mythologies about the animals that lived in the woods.  Friends and I built dams down by the stream, dug caves, hid from my brother, and planned new Utopian societies that would form just feet from a major road.  It was bliss.  I had such a connection to nature, the elements, and what it means to be alive in a world almost completely overtaken by pavement and development.

We had a garden, fenced off to keep out the deer.  That didn't last long, because deer couldn't care less about a fence (they jump).  We also had beds upon beds of lilies, lamb's ear and other inedible and edible herbs, all maintained by my mother, the nourisher (my father was more of a "let's make sure everything's working well" kind of person).  We would help her for maybe 15 minutes at a time, then run away to swing on the rope tied to a Mimosa tree nearby.

A lot of change has touched my life since then, but I never forgot the beauty and the solitude of the woods below my house.  To this day, when I am troubled and at home, I take a walk down to the stream.  The only difference between now and then is that now I know I'm just visiting the places I used to inhabit.  The mystery, mythologies, and harmony of that places still exist, just temporarily.  Getting used to that was hard, but I will never be too old to feel that way again.


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A blog about social change, written from Brooklyn, New York. Currently looking for contributors.