Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Writing for Self-Discovery Exercise 2

Personal Landscapes

"Write about an outdoor place or landscape that was special to you in your childhood or some years back. Describe the place, picking out features that were important to you. Include any sounds, colours, textures, and smells you remember. Explain how you felt about the place and also how you feel as you think and write about it. Mention any incident you  remember connected with the place or any other thoughts you have about it. "

My Perfect Place
When I was 4 years old my grandmother died and we moved into her house.  It was a house we should have kept forever but because of some bad choices my father made we were only there 5 years.  My grandmother’s house is where all of my self sufficient  lifestyle started.  It was a lovely place to be self sufficient in.  There were a couple of cleared acres. Some of that was “yard”, the middle acre was “garden” and the end next to my uncle’s house was “field”.  Behind the cleared acres was the steep hill of “woods”.
The “yard” was where most of the fun stuff happened. It had a very tiny hill in the middle that inexperienced bike riders could go to coast down before they learned to pedal.  It had one small maple tree which each year provided more and more shade. To one side by the “shed” or my father’s workshop, there were chickens and rabbit pens.  These were not so well liked as rabbits had to have buckets of grass picked for them every day.  I never remember taking care of the chickens though I suppose we must have.
The  “ garden” was first a place of wonder. Someone would come with a tractor and as they plowed we kids would walk far behind it and pick up worms that would be deposited in the worm bin/bathtub for summer fishing fun.  Soon, however, the “garden” became the dreaded place.  It was where you got sent daily for “pickin’ rocks”. At one time the garden had been an old river bed or so my mother said anyway, and it never ran out of rock. Piles and piles of rocks would be deposited beside the garden for a couple weeks before my  father decided enough had been removed and we could plant.  The fun planting part was done by my parents and  late the dreaded weeding job was saved for we children again.  Harvesting was a lot more fun. I can remember carrots so big that me as a small child could not remove them from the ground.
The “field” was where we went now and then to play ball. You didn’t go to the right to far because that is where my cousin kept his bee hives and you didn’t go to the fence on the left because we were sternly told not to bother the bull but the empty part in the middle was perfect for playing ball with the cousins or friends . Other than that we seldom used the field.  Once in a while one of us would ride our bikes all the way around the garden and into the field but it was an arduous and bumpy ride.
The “woods” were perhaps the best place.  It was where the sugar maples were for winter sap collecting. It was where the hill was for sledding. It was where the trees were for climbing and making children’s “ houses”.  It was where the wood was cut for the fireplace which was sometimes a chore but in winter it was fun because it had to be sledged out with snowmobiles.  The woods were all we needed to round out our self sufficient lifestyle.
Why my father ever wanted to leave such a place I don’t know but since then I believe myself and my siblings would love to find such a perfect place again.  Perhaps my own house is as perfect to my children. I would like to think so but for some reason I don’t think it will ever quite come close to my grandmother’s house, in my mind.

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