Tree forts. Capture the flag. Riding bikes. Hide and go seek. Cutting through a new swath of wild land to get home before the sun goes down. Find a creek. Spend a whole summer hunting crawdads. Marvel at the dragonflies, the polywogs, moss, fish, mud, cattails and those really mean geese. Ponder the question of,”why does this root beer can float if it is made of metal?” Try to build a raft. Have your raft fail. Think about it for day or two while skipping rocks and counting clouds. Build a better raft. Have that one fail too. Go to the library. Do some research. Try harder. And finally build a raft that floats. Then build a raft that floats you and a friend. Make a rabbit trap. You know the one I am talking about. The one with the carrot dangling under a box. Hide behind a rock for from lunchtime to dark. Just like the Wily Coyote did on that cartoon. Sitting motionless for hours. Holding the string with a continuity of excitement and anticipation that only a child can so effortlessly maintain. Get completely skunked. As a result, come to the realization at the ripe age of 10, that cartoons are bullshit. And that they should be best left alone as much as possible.
Go out out for a whole day with nothing but some curiosity and a boatload of energy to spend. Throwing rocks. Kicking cans. Exploring. Gathering various fruit from the trees that hang over the fences. Have a feast on top of the water tower. Have a fruit fight with the leftovers. Drink water from strangers water hoses. (It was ok). Yeah. It was all ok. Thank you trees. Thank you long dirt roads. Thank you big rocks. Thank you lizards. And even you, big black Labrador. I sincerely thank you. You used to chase me from your driveway and all the way down to Foss Lane. Thanks for teaching me to be aware of my surroundings. Thank you for teaching me about real dangers. Thanks for teaching me how to anticipate those dangers and navigate them successfully. Thank you mom and dad for trusting that the world worked well enough for a 10 year old to go out and have a genuine worthwhile experience without an I phone or even a watch for that matter. Yet, he would still return himself home before dark and on his own volition. Most of all, thank you nature. For being there to help wash away frustrations of the sometimes difficult and complicated world of humans. Always still. I have found that upon years of observation, as well as much close inspection, it is eminently clear that you do nothing uselessly. I’ve never seen you tire. You never ask for anything. You are pure service. Forever giving. The ultimate teacher for those of us lucky enough who have been educated instead of schooled.