Tuesday, January 22, 2013

An Oldie: Bigger Than We Were

                                        This was a few summers before we got to stay in the camp-house.

In the summers we stayed in a two story cabin/camp-house that was buried off the side of the road in the woods. We had to walk 1/2 mile down a dirt road from Nana's house to get to it. After baths and some toast she sent us all out the back door, Good night!, but we were together and were rarely scared. I think of it now and I know I could never walk down a dirt road by myself at night in the pitch black, the kind of black where you don't see anything until you bump into it. But then we did. I remember pockets of cold air, like in a lake, and our signal call to each other. We memorized the road with our bare feet, which side had fewer rocks and where the divots were. We walked quietly in single file, once in a while snapping a green branch into the face of the person behind us. We talked about the man with the ax, and laughed and screamed and yelled Quit it.

My aunt and uncle stayed there with us, but we rarely saw them unless it was raining and we spent the entire day inside together. Mostly it felt like we were on our own. We needed grownups to feed us and take us to the beach, but everything else we managed. We drove a VW bug down to the corn fields, sometimes straight through uncleared green stalks until it would get stuck and then we'd leave it there like a forgotten toy. When we needed it again, we'd spend an entire day trying to figure how to get it started. Sometimes we just needed gas. It's weird to think about how much we were alone, how we didn't feel unsafe, how we jumped out of trees and threw rocks and figured out how to jump start a car, when at least three of us still peed the bed at night.

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