The Walls of My Childhood
There were assorted fields back behind the old cement pool. They were bumpy and clumpy; not smooth and tree-featuring like our front yard where the massive beech, pussy willow and small but elegant magnolia held court.
But the back, those fields, that’s where we played. That’s where we went everyday in the summertime. Racing on bicycles down the Audubon society's prim paths. Venturing towards the old chicken coop across gullies of skunk cabbage. Pushing through prickers, catching sight of rabbits.
But it’s the old stone wall I remember most vividly. It crossed across the entirety of the land, and went on and on into adjacent woodlands. Someone, long ago, had divided it on the southwest corner, probably for the sake of a traveling wagon or cow herd.
And this was where we would cross over, too.
In my child’s lifetime of travels around the property, I would sometimes encounter the wall and need to clamber up and over it. It was four or five feet high and very broad on top, with leaves and shadows and thoughts of raccoons. I’d linger there, looking at and touching the rounded, mossy forms. And then I'd drop down, onto the other side, and make my way towards the skunk cabbage and abandoned chicken coop.