As I wandered the leaf strewn strip of woods by my childhood home yesterday, I reflected on the people and places that were a part of my early life. I literally spent hours in that little corner of trees and brush during my pre and early adolescence, along with scores of neighborhood children. The "dead end" was our favorite spot.
As a nine or ten year old I once went to the woods with a friend. There was a swampy spot not too far in where we caught polliwogs one year, and in the middle of this gigantic puddle was a bit of higher ground where a large tree grew. From the tree hung a thick vine. Being at the slightly daring age, I decided to swing across the small bit of water separating the tree's island from the rest of the world. It was okay but not very daring and so I got the notion to swing out over the larger puddle. Of course, as luck would have it, the vine snapped and I was deposited directly into the muddy puddle on my backside. The walk home was rather humiliating, although I don't recall anyone but a friend being present, and I was not fearful of my mother's reaction as she was most forgiving in times of embarrassment.
My first "boyfriend" was in third grade and his name was Joey. In the spring of 1973 we were playing at the edge of the woods when we accidentally discovered a nest of garter snakes. We returned multiple times on various days to Garter Snake Hill to catch a snake or two, carry them about and chase the older girls just to hear them scream.
Yesterday I stared up at trees that surely watched my friends and I play in their shelter 40-45 years ago. Some of them are now fallen heroes and some bear the scars of knife wounds where our jackknives carved initials in their tender bark. Here and there a rotted out stump was the only reminder of old growth, and the "crick" that Mom helped me cross on our way to visit friends, buried years ago in culverts underground, is long forgotten.
I I turned back toward "home" and rounded the corner, another couple of friends smiled down on me. They are old and ugly eye sores to many, and have long outlived their usefulness, but the Webster water tanks have been a landmark from the time I could focus my newborn eyes to peer out the living room window of my childhood home. One day one or the other of them be gone and I will miss them too.
I am a work in the hands of the Master Potter. I pray that His fingerprints are all over me as I walk through this life. This is my journey. Thank you, Jesus, for not giving up on me.
I am mom to seven beautiful grown ups and grandma to ten beautiful grandchildren.