Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Forest

My boys have a secret place in our yard called the forest (photos complements of the boys). All kinds of magical things happen in the forest. Phillip drives his Gator and Samuel drives his tractor deep into the forest (it is a mere three or four overgrown pine trees). Sam's trailer and Phillip's Gator bed are full of junk. Boys have this interesting fascination with everything broken, cracked or smashed. Apparently, these toys are the ones that make the best weapons for play.

When they finally emerge, they are often full of stories about what was in the forest. Pirates, witches, big animals, dinosaur tracks, the police, and more. The forest is an amazing place for both of them. It is cool in the summer with the shade cast by the oversized evergreens and sweet with the smell of sap in the fall. They take friends back there, spy on the neighbors, and even pee back there (despite the fact that it is against the rules). As a woman, you sort of have to respect this about men. It really is an admirable trait.

So, as they play in the forest, I wonder where on earth is my forest? Where would I go to "pretend" and let go? Where would I go to explore and be free, to find adventure and open myself to experiences of my own imagination? It seems that while I have been busy being a mom, building my business, and trying to be a somewhat decent wife, I have lost that place.

I remember where it was when I was little. The cornfield next to my house. Carmel was a much different place in the late 1970s-early 1980s. I would fly my kite or spread out a big blanket and drag my babies out to play. Within an hour or so, I would bring my art supplies out, and maybe a chair. By the end of my adventure, I would have half of my life on this postage stamp of a blanket in this enormous cornfield.

When I was a teenager, there were lots of special places I can remember where I would go to be alone--sulking, heart broken or mad at something that now as a parent, seems ridiculous. Smoking cigarettes and listening to Neil Young or the Grateful Dead. As a young adult, those places seemed to mean less as the real world needed more of me. Those places got farther away and I visited less frequently. Instead of my back yard, I now needed to go to a beach to free my thoughts and spring my imagination.

Today, I wouldn't even know where to begin. Except to say that I long to be, once again, close to home and in my own world. I want another cornfield. Rare are the occasions when I have the house to myself for more than a few hours--I mean totally to myself. I think that now my island, my beach would be my own house. Me, inside alone. No shower, no dishes, no email (okay, maybe email), no to-do list, no need-tos. Just me. Wonder how long that would last until I would miss everything else? Sure would like to give it a try and see. But, for this moment and for the next few years, there is no doubt that my forest is, and will remain, a ten minute hot shower.

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