I do love the outdoors but have not been able to enjoy it as I once did. As a kid, I walked country roads in the Mount Mansfield area of Vermont, hiked numerous trails, and was one of the many who have climbed Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire. A lifetime of sports injuries and weight gain derailed my ability to hike but it hasn’t robbed me of the desire.
My growing up years were spent in the pursuit of being outdoors and, when I had to be indoors, the pursuit of reading. Reading fueled my imagination and the outdoors fueled my sense of adventure. As a little kid, I spent hours outside in the yard or in woods playing with my friends. We often reenacted tv shows, Westerns of course, despite the fact there was nothing Western about Vermont or upstate NY.
As a teen I was on my own quite a bit and loads of time was spent getting myself to friend’s houses and back home again. If I wasn’t using my bike, I was walking. My imagination was chock full of stories and books I’d read and I found ample time to fit myself into some interesting scenarios by way of daydreaming. In my head I created scene after scene of a kind of life I thought would be interesting.
This is how walking through the woods to get to school becomes interesting. Time passed quickly as my mind spun through its Rolodex of ideas. The woods became a hideout location for gangsters, or a place of solace to read, or an opportunity to dam up the small stream thus saving the village down the creek. Of course these were all imaginary scenarios but they provided fodder for continued play at a later date,
In fact, during junior high years, a friend, or friends, and I would pack a lunch and picnic in these woods. This fun activity came to a screeching halt one afternoon when my bff and I came upon a man dressed in a raincoat. You’ve got it! He flashed us. It was a scary event for a couple of 7th grade girls who thought they were sophisticated but were very naïve, indeed. We bicycled swiftly to my friend’s house and told her mother. Thus ended our forays through those woods.
Older and stronger found bunches of us riding bikes to a local environmental farm. Run by the state of NY, there were trails and lots of wildlife to see. There was also a much wider creek to explore and a large pond. We took our picnic lunches out there and walked the trails. It was pretty wholesome adventure. But it spurred my creative mind and my thoughts turned once again to imaginary adventure. However, thoughts of boys began to insert themselves into these stories in my mind. What would it be like to walk the trail holding a boy’s hand? Or to be kissed by a boy on a moonlit night while standing on the bridge by the pond? You get the idea.
I guess because of my penchant for reading, I’ve lived a lot of my time through my imagination. Have any of my imaginary scenarios ever panned out? Not going to tell. But I did once manage a romantic evening walk through a lightly falling snow with a beau. It was wonderful. I do think I write in order to make some of my “dreams” come true. I’m not too old to hope for more adventure. I do need to get into better shape so I can do some hiking when spring rolls around.
My imagination needs some work. It’s time to wander down some unfamiliar trails. I have no idea what might await!
Photo credit: Wendy Hauser Liebl