Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Boxcar kids

Behind my home is a wetland preserve. There is a body of water (larger than a creek, smaller than a river) that is home to birds, beavers and according to the kid next door, timberwolves. At dawn and dusk the birds sing and squawk and I am filled with a great peace at being so close to nature. Between our fence and this water there is a path that I walk with the dog and I feel lucky to have such a retreat literally outside my gate.

As I walked this path yesterday I was reminded of an experience I had only a few miles away in the creek behind my childhood home. My sister and brother and I and our neighbor friends packed our bags with snacks and treats and spent a whole summer day pretending to be orphaned children living in the woods. (I am fairly certain I drew my inspiration from the Boxcar Children, because those books were awesome!) We traversed the same 200 yards of creek over and over again, looking for a safe place to have lunch and set up camp. We imagined stories for ourselves and made rules for our little community...

The last four days in the Sacramento area have been glorious. While places like D.C. have been digging themselves out of snow piles, we have been enjoying temperatures in the upper 60s. (Don't say anything about global warming. We had snow in December for the first time in 30 years and there is an equal chance that next week we will be have a deep freeze or 2 inches of rain!) I have taken every opportunity possible to be outdoors, especially running with the dog or just to stand for a moment in the winter sun.

This weather, combined with my boxcar kid instinct, make me want to be a kid again, if only for an hour. One thing I regret about being an adult is that I have become a little too practical and a little too structured at times. I wish I could crawl through the grass without worrying if my pants will get dirty. I want to wade through the water without concern if I will have to buy new shoes. I want to enjoy the day without thinking about what chores I should be doing in the house. I want to experience the day, not just live through it. Children do this well--they live. Like my kid-neighbor, I want to believe in animals that do not exist here and have imagination and joy bursting from inside. I want to be inspired by the earth that has been gifted to me and truly experience every moment I have in it.


  1. Awww, you can borrow my kiddos and play Boxcar children. You would be THE. COOLEST. EVER. And I could sit in your house and drink beer and pet Molly, since she loves me more than you. THAT sounds like the perfect day.