Sunday Mark and I went trompsing through the woods. We both put on rain boots and spring jackets; temperatures were in the upper 30’s.
We started out on a trail near our house, the trail we often walk, run, or cross-country ski on. We soon headed off the trail and were bushwhacking through the woods. At least, that’s what it would be called in Minnesota, where the brush is so thick it’s difficult to walk off trail there. Here, it’s just walking. There is no underbrush to whack through.
I felt like I was a kid again. When I was little, we had access to a little grove area behind the football field in my hometown. It was a fenced-in area, filled with pine trees and deciduous trees, and we spent many hours, many days there. A man in town had a little black Shetland pony named Dolly, and he let me ride her. I started riding her in his yard at about the age of 5. By 6 I was allowed to take her down the street, and by 7 I was pretty much riding her all over town. A friend of mine also had a pony, a Paint named Sally. Sally was beautiful and fast. Dolly was fat and ornery. She used to try and brush me off by going close to trees and rubbing up against them. I got really good at swinging my leg up over her back, leaning down close to her neck, and holding on. Tight. So I wouldn’t get brushed off.
So we would play in this grove behind the football field, and because it was fenced in, we could let the ponies loose. Part of the fun was catching them again! We pretended that we were runaways (of course!) or orphans (what kid doesn’t pretend this!), traveling across the country. Making our home amongst the trees, traveling by the wild ponies we found along the way. We moved from town to town so no one would discover us, and we stayed in the forest because it was the best place to remain unfound; stay hidden. We had forts all throughout that grove, so we could leave one and head to another at a moment’s notice.
Mark and my trompsing through the woods made me feel like that kid again. Full of adventure and excitement. There was a touch of spring in the air, both because of the temperature and because of the scent of, well… spring. The brooks were running fast and the hillsides were icy. We had to jump across the roaring brook after scouting it out for the crossing that was the narrowest of all, sometimes downstream, sometimes up. It didn’t matter. We hadn’t a care in the world except to cross the brook. There was a sense of freedom in this. Like I had run away. Like I was 7 again.