I grew up, in what I considered as a child, a very rural area. I didn’t think living in the sticks was very cool when I was a little girl, but looking back now, I remember our neck of the woods as being ever so fascinating. We lived in the country and were surrounded by hundreds of miles of state game lands and state forests. And, as kids, we spent a lot of time exploring and playing in the woods. I’m sure that kind of upbringing is what gives me my love for cool, quiet walks in the woodlands.
We had a path leading from our back yard into some great woodland. Once there, we could go off in several different directions depending on where we wanted go. One place, we called, “Devil’s Canyon.” This is a very cool pile of big rocks, which from the top is a ten to 15 foot drop to the ground below.
We could go further on the path and turn left to go to The Ridge. Back then, The Ridge was a huge hunting lodge with basketball court, softball field, ski slope, ski lodge, pond, picnic pavilions, etc. The owners rented it to groups and we could hide in the woods and spy on their parties, or hang out there ourselves when no one was there. In the winter, we could ice skate on the basketball court or toboggan down the ski slope.
If you did not make these turns, the path from the edge of our yard ended at an old, washed out dirt road that climbed upward, very steeply at times, to the top of a mountain, known as Peterson Hill. In the summer, we could hike to the top and pick wild blueberries and maybe see a bear.
I have some wonderful memories of Peterson Hill that deserve their own blog post, and I will probably write about them soon, but, for now, thinking about those woods made me remember my special place.
I had a secret place that I could go to when I was mad at my sisters or ran away from home. It makes me laugh now, because it really wasn’t so secluded or very far from the house. But, to me, the place was magical – a bed of woodlands grass and ferns as the floor, and a nearby rock, so big, I had to use both hands to roll it to hid things under.
What I remember most about my special place, though, is that for several hours every afternoon, the sun cast beams of sunlight through the canopy of tree branches high overhead warming the grass. I could lay on my soft warm bed and watch the branches sway with the breeze and the sunlight dance all around me. In the winter, the branches were bare and several feet of snow covered the ferns and grass and even my big rock. So, although I knew approximately where my spot was, I could never find it until springtime again.
I was very lucky to have the woods and the streams as a backdrop for my childhood. I was also fortunate to have a sweet special place to go to be by myself when a situation warranted it.
Do you remember your special place?
P.S. I have no pictures of me or my sisters playing in those woods, but I know I had a picture of Carrie and her cousins playing at Devil’s Canyon. I looked through five shoeboxes and eight photo albums but could not find it. If it ever turns up I will scan it and post it.