It waited for us. Day in, day out the forest whispered our names. Our house sat high on top of a hill. Below us, at the end of the street was a swatch of heaven. Through the thickly tangled pussy willow bushes and towering trees was a lake. The waters calm with a surface as smooth as glass.Lily pads floated, just out of reach.
We were forest children. This wonderland, our playground. From sunup to sundown, we roamed the thickets, discovered every nook and cranny. Sometimes, we would pause to sit upon the forest floor and listen as the breeze rustled through our hair. The crackles of underbrush, the shrill call of a crow summoned us to attention. Our heightened senses taught us awareness and agility. Never afraid, we hid silent behind the tree trunks. We had an unbreakable trust in our universe.
It was the whistle’s shrill note that summoned us home for lunch or dinner. The call an interruption. Each night, we’d sleep underneath moon glow. As the sun’s light slid through curtains, we’d rise and ready for another day of adventure.
Bewitched by fairies and lore, we ruled this sacred space. Ducks glided past the stony rimmed shoreline and bull rushes stood tall and straight. Their tufted tops reached toward splintered light. Frogs croaked from thickly tangled underbrush. In the spring time, we’d collect their spawn. Spellbound, we’d study buckets full of developing tadpoles, amazed at the life cycle known as metamorphosis. We knew this truth, the world was indeed a magical place.
As we grew older, our kingdom changed. We tossed aside buckets and chants for boys and cars. The trees thinned and the underbrush cleared. The lake remains, an open view from the street entrance.
Still I return to the place I knew. I park in the gravel lot and close my eyes to summon the memories. Four wee children scoot to the edge of the forest and quickly disappear. Listen. I hear their laughter. Sing song notes ring out, carried on a breeze.