Summer is the favorite time of year for kids. No school, no homework, and unlimited playtime are just some of the perks of the season. Of course, these days you’re probably more likely to find kids sitting on their rear, playing a video game rather than being outside. It’s fun, entertaining, and you can avoid the heat. Even though that applied to me, I once had a summer where I was highly motivated to remain outside.
When I was nine or ten I lived on Fort Gordon in Georgia. The area where my house was stood against a small forest. Go one way and you ran into a sea of trees. Go the other and you encountered red sand-like dunes that had onions growing out of them. For the sake of this retelling, I shall direct you to the left.
Not far in that direction was a small grove of trees that you could gain access to via a small opening. Within was a dirt area with a sewer pipe that released water into a nearby river. The trees rose above you, so thick that it completely blocked out the sun. It was quiet, cool, and large enough for several dozen kids to run around. Naturally, my friends and I got ideas.
I’d never had a tree house, or a clubhouse for that matter, so this was exciting. The same could be said of my partners in crime and we went about making this a reality. As is the habit of people all across the country, we found furniture abandoned beside garbage cans that people were throwing away, because they no longer wanted or needed them. I can neither confirm nor deny that this abandoned furniture went missing, but I will say this; we soon had chairs, desks, and etc. in our club house. We even found a blanket at one point which we promptly dumped into the sewer water to ‘clean’ before hanging it up on an impromptu close line. I never said that made sense. After all, who accuses adolescent children of always making bright decisions.
Through ought the summer and many more that glen of trees was our favorite haunt. We had many laughs and played many games there. But as time passed our group drifted apart. The furniture was damaged, or went missing, and we met there together with greater infrequency. By the time my family moved off the base I tended to be the only one that went there.
Despite that, I think back on that place fondly. The memories, which are imbedded in my love of nature, are some of the fondest of that time that I hold onto, and never wish to forget.
Disclaimer: I do not own the imagery used in this blog post and have no artistic claim to it.