Memories are fun things as there are some that you don’t remember to save your life, others that you absolutely love, and many others that come to you from nothing, triggered by a particular smell, place, food, etc. I recently had one of these last memories, something that had long been forgotten that suddenly came flooding back as we worked out the theme of our lawn. We had an article about the grass garden paths through my desk, and there it was …
Off the Beaten Path – Dad’s Grass Path in the Woods
When I was just entering my “years”, we left the city and moved to a rural area, or to the country, as we call it here. It wasn’t much further from where we had lived before, perhaps only 10-15 minutes away by car, but the surroundings differed: no more development with neighbors close to each other. No more noise from traffic, from the apartment complex or even from the mall right through the woods. You no longer have to walk to the top of the hill to take the bus with all the other children. Now there was only one neighbor across the street with the fields flanking each side and another next door with a small patch of wood separating us.
The two-story house was an older one, once made of wood, and had a tin roof. Although it was rather close to the road, the huge courtyard and the empty field next to it more than made up for it. I remember the huge mother from the garden who had taken that first year and every year after. He collected many preserves from those crops, and in particular I loved the fruit preserves.
The excitement I felt while exploring the old barn and the outbuildings on the property could not be overcome (I once dreamed of being an archaeologist, so digging and exploring is natural). And then there were the woods, both beside and behind us. This quickly became my home away from home, but what made it even better was the secret hideout across the tree-lined field near the barn. It had once been a pasture or meadow, but time had filled it with overgrown grass and small trees, many of which were pine and cedar. My father wanted to clean it up a bit, having no idea that in the meantime he would create every child’s dream – a “wonderland” where friends were welcome and the imagination free to let loose.
He had simply mowed grassy paths along the old pasture full of trees, some winding their way to unknown destinations and others taking you back to where you started. It was my “safe” place, a magical place. I never got tired of those paths of mown grass and where they would take me later. And just when I thought it couldn’t be better, Dad would change me, cutting different paths and letting the old ones grow.
Memories are fun things. I haven’t thought about this special childhood place for so long, but an article was enough to trigger his return. And it couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. Recently I remembered with my boss an affectionate childhood memory of my father, who has been missing for a while. I am grateful for this memory of the moment, especially as Father’s Day approaches. Strange how something as simple as creating a path in the woods can mean so much for a child, even now all grown up. I’m thinking of creating a space like this mine – in the garden this time, perhaps a lawn with cut paths. A place where everyone is welcome and the imagination runs free!