So I'm driving around the other day. It was a cool-ish day in early October, when the blazing heat of summer has started to die away and smells return. I'm particularly susceptible to smells .... they can yank me back in memory quicker than anything. It's strange.
Anyway, what I smelled was trees, and what it put me in mind of was a tiny wood I used to wander when I was growing up. It was maybe forty feet wide and a quarter of a mile long, but it was filled with adventure. Tiny paths snaked through the emerald gloom .... vines hung from gnarled trees .... dead leaves crackled underfoot and gave off the most enticing odor .... ferns waved softly in errant, scented breezes .... it was a haunted, enchanting place. Rabbits and squirrels shared it with me, and birds that sang softly, so as not to disturb the sylvan peace. I found a geode there once, truly a treasure when one is young. The wood was a boundless place, where my imagination could run free, where I could wander for hours, or sit and dream, or climb the highest trees and look out over my demesne. It was magical.
What made me sad, thinking of this the other day, was that I've no such place anymore.
Nowhere I can hide and dream .... and no time to do it, supposing such a place actually existed. Nowhere that rustles suggestively, hinting at elusive creatures populating the shadows. Nowhere that the world can't find me.
Where do these places go? I mean, it's just possible that my little wood still exists -- it was in a place where a street should have been, and according to a map I saw recently, the street still doesn't run through. But does it still exist? Probably not. What I was mourning was the loss of that degree of imagination that makes these places what they truly are: places outside the world.
We are in such a rush to grow up .... we dash through school and into jobs and make money and buy things and go places .... but we lose so much. Without even realizing that we're doing it, we strip from the mind's map all those little places that define us, that help us be who we are. And even if they still exist in the physical world, we can never visit them again. Our eyes are different. We can't see them anymore.
And the part that is really sad is that we don't even realize we're giving these places up.
I don't want to be a child again .... but I want to be able to wander in my little wood. And it makes me angry that I've lost it. intelligence . language . religion . driving . death . diversity . courtesy . losing things . spring . chatters . intelligence ... again