Wednesday, July 02, 2008

the woods

My child-self would hate me right now.

Even as the thought came to me, I pushed it away. My practical adult-self listed reasons why I should mow the plants that had always provided a feeling of wilderness to my childhood haunts. But still, a feeling of guilt, almost betrayal, lingered in my mind. With every push of the mower, I could feel the stomach-gurgling nausea that arrived whenever something outdoors was changed, or destroyed, or molded by humans. Still, I knew that the weeds were breeding grounds for mosquitoes, an unsightly mess, and needed to be mowed. And I did feel satisfaction at the neatness I left behind me.

After I finished mowing, though, I took a rake and attempted to remark the paths I had run so many times in the past. Even as I did, I knew it didn't matter; there were no more pairs of small feet to scamper through what I used to call "woods" but now saw as a scraggly patch of trees.

And so I raked the paths one more time, smiling and waiting for the day when a smaller version of myself would stand with her hands on her hips, and demand that I leave "Grandma's woods" to their natural condition. I knew that I would acquiesce to her demands, and I knew that once again, the woods would grow wild, and the paths would be worn away by small feet. But, for the time being, the woods were tamed into just an extension of a lawn . . .

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