Childhood lore

"Indians," the neighborhood big kids told us little kids, "can walk so quietly in their moccasins that Bambi can't hear them coming.  Neither can you."  So out playing in the front yard picking blue juniper berries and plinking them into a Swanson's chicken potpie foil pan pretending to be the star of Blueberries For Sal, we couldn't just worry about Little Bear and his mother.  We had to worry about Indians sneaking up to take us captive.

Don't think this was a bad thing, really.  We felt a great safety in knowing our movements were monitored by mothers watching out kitchen windows, dads walking home from the bus stop, and the big kids generously managing our wide-ranging play.  We sorted out pretend and real, and mixed the juniper berries with mud or maple twirlies.  Then we practiced walking so softly we would not disturb Bambi.

"Indians," the big kids told us, "pick the honeysuckle blossoms, then suck the ends for a sweet drink."  This was a nice change from the blue juniper berries that were POISONOUS, and the chicken potpies that were salty fake cardboard and often burned. 

We loved that word, poisonous almost as much as the magical QUICKSAND.  We felt stronger as we dealt with these risks.

Feeling sucked into quicksand up to my neck often, I'm learning to take long walks at Oak Point Nature Preserve.  The gas to get there should be deductible as a medical expense for sanity. 

Tuesday I walked the high meadow trails marveling at the sulfur and monarch butterflies, then headed into the trees on the Redbud Trail.  I was snapping too many twigs.  Bambi would hear me coming!

Rounding a bend, fragrant honeysuckle slowed me.  I stopped to savor childhood associations.  Suddenly sad, I remembered Dad's first hip break in 2006 when he got tangled in the honeysuckle vines growing on the front yard light post.  Struck still, I caught the glistening five o'clock light on a web, and traced it to the small spider. 

Location, location, location!  This spider has a spot that will keep it well fed to grow into a big garden orb spider (although my spider ID superpowers have not kicked into gear yet this spring).

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Kathleen said...

You are beautiful. So are your collages and photos. I wish you could have seen the play I saw tonight, about a caregiver (daughter for mom).

Also, you have recreated parts of my childhood: quiet Indians, Bambi, Blueberries for Sal, poisonous berries (choke cherries), and quicksand (Florida).

Collagemama said...

Choke cherries!! I had completely forgotten these mysterious berries. I can hear my mom's voice saying the words.

Christine Thresh said...

Your honeysuckle piece is really beautiful.

Collagemama said...

Thanks to you both for the boost!

Genevieve said...

As kids, we were pretty interested in Indian stuff, too. My dad showed us a wildflower with an edible bulb, sometimes called "Indian turnip", and we dug up dozens of them over several years, cut off their tops, washed them, and ate them. They were not very big, and they certainly weren't very tasty, but we felt smart that we knew about them.

I love the blue collage!


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