We’ve been in our home for just over a dozen years, and I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never gone very far into the thicket behind our house. Sure, I’ve walked directly behind our house, but the low branches, the pricker bushes everywhere, and my overactive imagination (is that a coyote?) keep my feet more firmly planted on the green grass of our backyard.
To my kids however, this is The Wilderness. It is where they can have a fort made of sticks. Where they can get their feet muddy in a stream when they fall off the “bridge” they’ve constructed. Where they can hide and make up elaborate stories.
It reminds me of the woods behind my childhood neighborhood. Those woods held such imposing hills as “Big Suicide” and “Little Suicide” (shortened to Big Sewey and Little Sewey which is decidedly less imposing, though now seems appropriate since these “mountains” were really just slight inclines). There was the rusted old car decaying in those woods whose demise was the subject of many tall tales. There was a large fallen tree that the brave kids would climb (e.g., not me). We’d stay in those woods until dark when we’d run out as fast as we could because woods + dark = SCARY. Sadly, those woods are long gone, having become a housing development sometimes in the 90’s.
But the space behind our house cannot be developed due to zoning laws. I love it because it gives us privacy.My kids love it for many reasons. And yesterday, when the kids and a friend asked me to visit their secret space, I tromped and clomped through the brambles, low branches, and uneven ground to see what is so fascinating to them.
I’ve never given much thought to this “open space” behind our property, but now that I’ve seen it, I’m so glad it’s there. And I’m thankful there is no Big Suicide Hill—that was scary.