Somewhere inside of me there is still a small hint of the child I once was. Age and experience has taken away most of the magic of life, but I think a small spark still remains.
When I was young, I loved to find places to hide. We had some thick bushes outside our house in the front yard. They grew a few feet from the perimeter of the house, and it was a very magical place for me. I simply could not resist the temptation to crawl behind them and play. I would bring toys with me and play by myself for hours. I would giggle when people walked by our house on the sidewalk, because I could see and hear them, but they had no idea I was there. That was somehow a wonderful thing to me.
Unfortunately, I also witnessed the ending to an argument my parents had one day while I was hiding in those bushes. I still remember watching with a pounding heart as my father said a few unkind things to my mother, and made her cry. The argument was about money. We never had any. It was always a challenge for my parents to make ends meet. My father was not a mean person, and knowing him, I’m betting he regretted snapping at my mother. I think the pressures were just getting to him and he lashed out. The end result was my mother running into the house crying. They never knew I was hiding there.
I was always climbing trees, too. We had a couple of wonderful ones in the back yard that were so easy to climb. I was frequently found on the uppermost branches, swaying in the wind with the tree. How I loved that. However, I did NOT love it when I fell out of one of those trees. Luckily for me, I wasn’t up too high. I reached for a branch and somehow ended up flat on my back in the alley. I landed on a tree root that was sticking out of the ground and broke my tail bone! Yes, we have one of those at the bottom of your back, where your back meets your bottom! I went through weeks of agony when I sat down or stood up. I walked like I pooped my pants.
I didn’t learn my lesson, though. I am a slow learner. After I was better, I was playing monkey and swinging by my legs on the clothes line pole in our back yard (yes, we hung our laundry out to dry), and fell on my back. I again walked like I pooped my pants for a few weeks.
I still get intrigued when I see a clump of bushes with a small hole that I could climb into and hide. It takes all I have to not drop to my knees and go in! I still stare at a perfect climbing tree with a gleam in my eye. How I would love to climb one again. To sit way up high with all of my troubles down below. To feel free and bask in the cool wind that sways those branches. Just one more time.
But, I don’t think my chubby body would welcome the climb. The arthritis in my hands might not let me grasp the branches tight enough. I could get seriously hurt. When that reality hits, the spark of magic dies and I’m left feeling empty. Without that magic, it’s hard to face the day with high hopes. At least it is for me.
Getting older comes with some advantages, such as wisdom that is gained through life experience. Most people tend to treat me differently now, too. There is a little more respect in their words and actions. Well, that only happens until they get to know me. Then they see I don’t act much different from the kids I watch. I’m hanging on with all my remaining strength to that spark of magic I had as a child. I don’t plan on letting it go altogether until nature forces it out of me!