Thursday, July 19, 2007


I grew up in a small town on a peninsula on the west coast of British Columbia. I lived three miles from school and town in an old farm house with a tin roof that banged like old pots whenever it stormed. The sound of water beating on the tin roof was soothing to me as a child and many nights I lay in my bed listening to that sound as I drifted off to sleep. The house we lived in was almost a 1/4 mile from the gravel road that I walked every day to school. It was in some ways a lonely life for a child. My sisters were older than I and there were no children next door to interact with. So I learned to interact with nature. It was not uncommon to see deer or bear crossing the road on my way to school and the chirping and cawing of birds outside my window was usually the first thing I heard every day.
My mother, having grown up during the great depression was a consummate collector of things and she showered her children with things as well. I had plenty of toys, especially dolls and stuffed animals and anything that my mother considered cute or pretty. Yet my memories of my childhood are not about the things in my life, but about the world around me. I remember vividly how the pond in the woods behind the barn would look like a fairyland on an icy winter's day The pond covered with ice and a light dusting of snow made the frost covered trees that rose from the frozen water look like fragile glass sculptures.
In the summer you could lay in the pasture and watch the clouds scudding across a pristine blue sky and pretend that they were big downy pillows and you were sitting up there watching the world below. At night you could hear the frogs croaking and owls hooting in the trees out side my bedroom. I loved to sit on the window sill and stare at the star covered sky. Even the putrid odor of a skunk the dog had scared in the early morning hours was a source of excitement to me as a child.
I roamed the woods around me like a traveler in a foreign land and in the summer I would take my pillow and sleeping bag to the old apple orchard and spend the night counting shooting stars!
Today, as an adult, I live in the city and rarely get the chance to view a pitch black star studded sky or listen to the waking chirps of the birds without also having to listen to the rattling and honking of trucks and cars fighting their way onto the freeway below my home. I own lots of things some necessary and some not and the older I get the more I realize just how little I really need to make me happy.
Family, my dog, sun on my face, rain drops, birds, trees, animals, the sea and one good friend who is there in good times and in bad are all vital to my wellbeing. Things don't even factor in.

1 comment:

  1. So beautifully and wonderfully written. I grew up on a farm in rural Virginia when I was very little, but moved to the city when I started school. My favorite memories are of being out in nature with my dad, biking, hiking, walking, rock-climbing, exploring nature. The only "things" I feel I can't live without are my books. And my computer. Oh, and my chocolate. ;-)