One thing I was not used to having around were acres and acres of uninhabited woods.
The closest thing to "woods." I was really used to living close to was a stretch of road close to our house with kudzu vines everywhere. That place no longer exists, as it gave way for garden homes and shopping centers. Living in the suburbs, you have neighbors on top of each other with maybe a tree line in between at best. It wasn't like I had never gone hiking or been in the woods before but having your house surrounded by a lot of land and not being able to see your neighbor's house was somewhat strange to me in the beginning.
However, that was one part of living there that I learned to quickly love. I was five years older than my siblings who were much closer in age. We did play together a lot and were very close, but just like in any other family, sibling personalities differ. I was much more introverted and wanted/needed my alone time even at a young age. Back then it was safe for a kid to hike or walk the trails in the woods close to their house and not have to worry about finding some idiot dressed like a clown. Maybe it still exists somewhere, but I think I watch the news too much now to think a place like that does. Anyways, I often walked through there a lot after school and especially in the summer. There were several clearings in and around the trees that were great places to be alone. I'm almost convinced kids don't explore like that anymore. I hope I'm wrong, but seeing as how parents are often arrested for letting their kids play alone at the park, I'm pretty sure I'm right.
I have always loved to read, and began writing stories and poetry at a young age. To me, walking deep into the woods to write, and even some days do my homework was something I truly enjoyed. I wish I had thought to keep those writings. It's amusing to me, because when I think back, one of the first things I wrote was a poem about how much I hated riding the bus and the smell of the chicken houses.
It was quiet, unlike my house. Not that it was loud in the unpleasant type of way, but five people, two of which were five and younger, it was loud. I could think and write and talk out my writings before putting them onto paper. It was my happy place. If I could have had the chance to tell my future self something at that time I would have said keep your writings!
Now that I am older, and by now you already know having never left Locust Fork, also referenced to as the "country," I still appreciate the quiet and open spaces. It's funny because I now have my own "party of five" and it is ALWAYS loud here. Always. My children are about the age that my siblings and I were when we first moved here. Jack is ten and I have two that are under five. And even though I still crave my quiet time (when and if it happens which is never) and would have definitely told my future self to relish those times, quiet now has a whole new meaning. It means that someone is doing something they aren't supposed to be doing or are somewhere they aren't supposed to be, have snuck outside, or eating straight from the Chips Ahoy package.
Back to the woods!
So, see there was something I did love immediately upon moving here. My siblings, despite being much younger, did tag along and trek through the woods with me. They enjoyed it as much as I did. It always felt safe and we never worried about running into anything dangerous, except normal things like poison ivy or spiders.
At least until that day we stumbled upon that scary deep grave.
Until next time,