I was thrown back into a time warp of sorts today by a good friend of mine. She was talking about how much the world has changed, just in the past 20 years. Let me tell you, I SO understand where she is coming from.
When I was a child, I never worried about being snatched from my bed in the middle of the night. I never worried about a stranger pulling me into their car. When I was a child, the only place I was afraid was my own house. So, being out of the house was…freedom. Untethered, unmonitored freedom.
My grandparents live in a big, sprawling, two-story house with front and back enclosed porches. When I was little it used to have a humongous u-shaped driveway that you go in one way, then leave on the other side. Right across the street from their house was a huge, beautiful forest, probably at least a square mile. There was a little, meandering path that started across from the neighbor’s house, and it went in a little ways, then had a steep drop where you had to walk almost parallel to the hill in order to get down it without falling on your ass and rolling the rest of the way, while at the same time you are trying to get around trees because the path has broken up and you can’t find it and OUCH! the branch hit you on the arm and you have to make a grab at that sapling to keep your balance and you pray it won’t break off in your hands as it bends. When you finally get to the bottom, it evens out nicely and even clears a bit of the trees, and there is a serene aura to the forest. It is so quiet. Directly ahead you see a crevice, with a large fallen tree over the opening so you can get across. As you approach the crevice, you look down into a lovely little flowing creek, replete with dark, verdant moss along the banks. I can remember just sitting or laying on that fallen log for hours on end, daydreaming or reading or joking and talking with a friend. Upon crossing the log, there was no path…just trees. I always knew where I was because I could hear the traffic on one side from the half-way main road, and even when I would come through to the other side, I always knew what street I was on and where I was.
OK, I guess the whole point of this post was that…..at the time I remember having my best times doing things like this….I was somewhere between the ages of 6 and 12. Roaming the woods and the streets, even using a little abandoned building for a “headquarters” for a while with some friends, playing kickball and kick the can with all the neighborhood kids until well after the fireflies came out. Riding my bike EVERYWHERE, walking home from school by myself. And hardly an adult in site.
And I think about today, with my own children, and how paranoid people have become. I wouldn’t even THINK about letting Gregory just go outside and ride his bike by himself. He is almost 9 years old, and I hardly ever even let him walk to school by himself, and it is only a block and a half, with two crossing guards, one on either side. Even now at his age I find myself looking over my shoulder when we are walking to make sure he is there, keeping Donovan strapped in the stroller much more than I would like to so he won’t wander off somewhere, checking both the kids each night before I go to bed to make sure they are still there and still breathing (and we live on the FOURTH floor).
And it kind of makes me sad, in a way, that my children cannot experience the same joys and FREEDOM that I did as a child, that they have to learn a certain amount a fear just to live. There have been several attempted abductions in our area over the past few months, and I find myself talking to my CHILD about being extra careful not to talk to ANYONE he doesn’t know, because these things have happened. And my little 8-year-old boy looks back at me with eyes too old for his years, and just says, “OK, Mom, I know.”
Daily Affirmation:
You must act as if it is impossible to fail. ~Ashanti Proverb

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Categories: Miscellany


Kari · March 4, 2002 at 2:08 pm

It really makes me wonder about this city life. (though there are some mighty strange things happenin in the country too…but nearly as much) Your descriptions Tricia are beauti=ous. I found myself breathin in…like i could breath the air there and knew it to small CLEAN… and non poluted. man… we need to run away.

Emerald Sky · March 4, 2002 at 2:39 pm

Ah, that forest sound so much like the woods on my property. Perhaps your first calling as a Witch?
I remember doing the things you mentioned when I was kid, too… and I lived in Detroit for god’s sake. That’s part of the reason I live in the country now. So my kids can experience some of that freedom.

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