I started (and almost finished) Island of the Blue Dolphins last night. It was one of the books that I LOVED as a child, and for some reason I needed a little bit of my childhood or something, and started reading it again. It didn't take long for me to remember why I loved it so much, many years ago.
As I was reading it, I felt my mind drift as though I was there, experiencing everything she was, seeing the ocean, wild dogs, everything. Took me back to a time when I would spend the entire summer making forts in the woods behind my parents house, all by myself, and loved every minute of it. I made it my mission, for several summers, to make the fort of all forts. Never used tools, or wood scraps, only what the forest would provide, is what I used. Imagine my surprise when I found that rabbits had wintered in one of my forts. I took that as a complement.
I had a neighbor boy who I occasionally teamed up with for fort making fun, but he did not have the patience, or the creativity to build anything that would last. I worked better alone. The things you learn about yourself and the world around you if you lay in a meadow and stare into the sky, even as a child, is amazing.
I guess I just wanted a little bit of that wonderment, or the feeling that I CAN do anything I set out to do. That gets hard to remember as I go day to day with the chores of a daily life. You lose a little I think when you have a child and spouse, as now you are a wife, and a mother, and both are wonderful things, but it is very easy forget that the little girl inside is still screaming to be free. Free to be ME, not a wife, not a mother, not a daughter, just me. The freedom of a July meadow, with not a care in the world, counting the clouds. The joy of gathering apples every day for the deer, and laying 10 feet away on the grass watching them eat, and watching them watch me. That was a different summer, I made it my goal to gather all of the plums, pears, and apples that fell on the property, put them all in one spot with a bucket of water to get the deer to come. And they did. So I laid in the grass near to where they would eat, and every day I would lay a little closer to the feeding spot till I was about 10 feet away. Watching them, and they watched me. It was beautiful. They had no fear of me, and I had no fear of them, even though they could have easily stomped the hell out of me if they wanted to. They knew I was the one who fed them, because I could sometimes see them watching me bring the buckets of apples to the feeding spot, watching me from the woods. Waiting for me to finish so they could eat. The fawns playing games with me, waiting for me to blink, then they would frolic around and come back, wait for me to blink, and do it all over again till their mother would make them stop. It was then I learned that children are children, no matter the species.
And that book was the inspiration for many of the things I did as a child. It inspired me to feel. To see life. To participate in life. To love life. And to enjoy the company of myself.
Wow, that was long winded.