Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Town in our Woods

Four days in a row of sleeping in. It tasted like hot cocoa with marshmallows. It was unfortunate that the spare moments of boredom tasted like ricotta cheese. I threw up once after eating my mother's lasagna. I'm convinced it was the ricotta.

Have you ever envisioned something in your life and knew that it would be awhile before you got there but you couldn't help envisioning it anyway? The day we drove up to this property and I pulled my big belly full of BOY testosterone out of the car first and then pulled my big ass out next and then I pulled my 2 year old daughter out last, I looked up to the ridge and imagined my kids walking off into the trees like the baseball players walked into the corn field in the movie Field of Dreams. I saw it, clear as day.

7 years later. We are here. And it ain't Iowa folks. They are walking away; well, sometimes they're running with boots on two sizes too big and hats that sit crooked on their heads. They disappear. And I know it's hunting season and it's possible that they won't reappear, but the dog (at least) has her hunter orange on.

They scrambled back down the hill on Friday to find me sitting contentedly by the fire, picking fiber. "Please Momma, come see our town!" they asked imploringly.

I hesitated for a moment to contemplate how cold I might get by leaving the house. I'm still not acclimated to this thing called Fall and because of the fact that it was spitting sea salt from the sky, I really tried to formulate a good excuse in my head. But what kind of Momma would I be??

Bundled, I joined in the parade up to the "town" in the yellow woods. The first thing I was introduced to was the port-o-potty. Nothing says "welcome" to a town when that's the first thing you see upon crossing its line. The port-a-potty happened to be a large rock that Timmy just peed off of. But there it was, none the less.

Next on our right was the playground. Logs to walk across, rocks to jump off of, cliffs to climb up. You want it, it's there. I watched from the path as the kids showed me all the options. "Momma, come on up!!" "Nah, I'm good here." And so commenced the tour.

Next on our left is Lookout rock. "Momma, come look!" Their backs were to me as they viewed, through the naked trees, our valley. "I can see from here!" I yelled back.

Next on our right was the movie theater. "Momma, come sit and watch." "No, I don't want to get my butt wet from that log you're sitting on!"

Next on our left, further up the trail, was the General Store. Auggie saved up three acorns to afford a homemade walking stick, hand carved by a local artisan.

And that's where they stopped asking me to join in.

What was happening to me? I used to do this as a child. I had a huge rock in my childhood woods that was my ship and I sailed to far off lands, imaginary swamps, and jungles in my head. I started to wonder when it went away. Did my imagination drift away gradually, or was it gone one morning?

This made me sad. As we passed Mr. Shackit's Sugar Shack and the Sap River and the Bus stop and the Castle and the Neverending Bridge and finally to the house they declared theirs at the end of a deserted road, I started to wonder if I could ever get it back. Could I retrieve this ability to 'pretend'? Some adults never lose it, never are for wanting the imagination to play house, play school, play doctor (he he). Not me, I thought, it's gone.

As we turned left over the bridge Paul Bunyan built over the Lazy River my mind meandered back through my tour. I took stock of the port-o-potty rock where Timmy peed from and I wanted to remember to show Paul Bunyan it to see if it would be a perfect rock for the hot tub we're building in the ground with rocks from our property. And I wanted to show him Lookout rock because that's exactly where I wanted to put one of my wall tents for my wall tent bed and breakfast that some day I'll get up and running. And I wanted to remember where the movie theater was because there was some great lichen to dye fiber with on the rock leading up to the theater. And I wanted to remember to tell Paul Bunyan that the Castle and Neverending Bridge were perfect trees to cut up for firewood. And at the General Store there is a perfect oak for replanting. And I wanted to recall that there was a rock the shape of a turtle at the Bus stop. Perfect for painting one day. And that the house at the end of a deserted road, which actually is an old trailer with a flat tire, should be fixed so we can take rides in it.

And there it was.

My imagination.

All rolled up and packaged in chores for the homestead. In ideas on how to make the homestead better, warmer, more inviting, more perfect. My imagination is wrapped up in this place. It's not used for pretend play now...I could maybe work on that. Practice makes perfect. Instead, however, it's being used on how to make life better. Here. Now.

I felt better knowing it wasn't gone. Just changed. Kinda like how I make my lasagna now with bechemel sauce instead of Ricotta. Makes for a better lasagna; well, for me at least.

1 comment:

  1. it's ironic, but before i read this entry - that day i had a similar conversation about the power of kid's imagination that escapes (most of) us now. i recently watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for the first time since i was probably 10 yrs old. and what a completely different movie it is now than i remember. i had zero recollection of the adult who was trying to steal the factory recipes - only lengthy, involved & evolved memories spawing from magical chewing gum, the virtues of belching, forests you could eat, rivers you could drink & the extreme anticipation of the golden ticket. makes you realize the price of growing up - but thanx for putting a feel good spin on that cost.