Thursday, April 21, 2011

Farewell to the Woods

This afternoon I had to run a few errands in the neighborhood where I grew up. It's only about 4-5 miles from where I currently live, but the area still feels worlds away to me. There's such a jumble of mixed feelings - I suppose the tangle echos my sentiments about my childhood in general.

Anyhow, today I was picking up some stuff from a fellow FreeCycler, so it took me a bit off the beaten path into a corner of the neighborhood I hadn't visited in many, many years. I turned down a once familiar street where I delivered newspapers every morning for most of my adolescence, and a flutter of excitement grew in my belly as I approached "the woods".

In truth, "woods" is a bit of a generous term for the area. Really it was just a plot of undeveloped land surrounded by a 6 foot fence and covered with thick brush and giant old cottonwood trees. The fence did little to keep us kids out however, as we all knew the places where the chain link had come loose, and in a pinch climbing a 6 footer was no big deal. Many an hour of my childhood was frittered away in those woods, daring each other to climb ever higher in the old cottonwoods, playing hide and seek amongst the underbrush, and even sneaking out after dark to tell ghost stories by the light of the moon.

So it filled me with a great sadness to see that this is what has become of my treasured woods:

I suppose it was inevitable, and when I looked it up online it turns out that this lovely batch of ticky tacky has been there for nearly 20 years.

Still, it makes me sad. The woods were always such a refuge for me. All I had to do was slip through the hole in the fence and I entered another world - a world full of imagination, and adventure and wonder, where none of the ridiculousness of the modern world could enter, or even seemed to matter at all. I wonder if the inhabitants of these "living units" have any inkling of the bold exploits that their sterile little cul-de-sac once witnessed.

Perhaps I'll turn out the lights tonight, light a candle and tell myself a few ghost stories in the dark, just for old time's sake.

I'm on the first step... I want my liver back... I'm on the second step... I want my liver back...


  1. A similar thing happened in my hometown. Essentially, they built housing right up to the edge of national forest areas. What was once a lovely drive to my favorite hiking trails has become suburban sprawl. :( Sad, isn't it?

  2. The world doth change faster than we. Treasure the memories.


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