Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day 2008

To celebrate Earth Day, the kids and I went for a walk in the woods. Which we had to drive to, but whatever. It's the gesture that counts, right?

I loved watching them explore and play around a huge fallen tree. It made me a little wistful -- it's exactly the type of activity I craved as a child but didn't get to experience.

Last week I drove the kids past the house that I lived in until I was about 8. It's only about 20 minutes from where we live now, but it's a noticeably rougher area. Sean and Allie were fascinated by the sight of the long line of row houses. They marveled over the weed-choked alleyway that serves as the backyard, by the postage stamp-sized front yard.

I have fond memories of that house, of the chummy neighborhood where I could walk to the corner store for my mom, where I could visit my grandparents by trotting across the street.

What I sought, though, was something completely inaccessible -- green space, woods, wildlife. In the absence of abundant nature, I created a slice of it for myself. Behind my house and down the alley a bit was an adjacent alleyway bordered by thick shrubs. I found a secret entrance through the shrubs -- I called it The Little Hole. It was my private haven, a place I could retreat to play alone, to pretend that I was hidden deep in a forest.

I showed Sean and Allie where The Little Hole used to be. The thicket of shrubs has been cleared away. It's a completely open space now, just another section of the alley.

I can still feel the frisson of excitement I'd get by parting the leaves and entering my special space. I'm glad that I have that memory. And I'm even more glad that Sean and Allie have access to the real thing.