Monday, October 13, 2014

Swinging Sticks

She was walking up this hill as I was driving down. 

From the beginning, I felt like I was dreaming. My car purred quietly as I wound around the narrow dirt roads of the neighborhood where I grew up. Alone, I was lost in blissful childhood memories spent exploring this lakeside paradise.

But the instant I laid eyes on her, my mood snapped from dreamy to surreal. A little girl, maybe seven years old, with tousled blonde hair walked up the hill toward me in a pair of muddy boots. Like a true country girl, she claimed the very center of the lane and skipped over to the grassy edge only when my car came close. 

I could tell she was an adventurer. She walked with easy confidence, at a relaxed yet purposeful pace. With shoulders back and head held high, she was obviously drinking in the nuances of the scene with all her senses. She carried a nice big stick. 

And she was alone. Happily, contentedly, comfortably alone. 

I felt like I had been struck by a bolt of lightning. 

I felt like I had fallen through a wormhole. 

I felt like I had traveled back through the mists of time to the years of my own childhood. 

Because I felt like I was looking at myself. 

For an instant, I thought of stopping and talking to her. I wanted to tell her that I used to live here when I was her age. I wanted her to know that I carried sticks and wore muddy boots and looked for adventures, just like her. I wanted to ask her to show me her favorite trees, her favorite hide-outs, her favorite secrets. 

But I knew that if she really was like me, that would be way too much attention from a strange adult. Too many questions. Too many invasions into a private world of dreams. 

So I just drove slowly past her, squeezing my car against the tree branches on the right side of the lane so that she had plenty of room to swing her stick.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please comment...I'd love to hear from you!