Mountain Laurel Paths

A subtle beat
Leaves whisper
A Honeysuckle treat
The path winds…

Mountain Laurels, Annapolis, Maryland

Mountain Laurels, Annapolis, Maryland

-*~**~*-  -*~**~*-  -*~**~*-  -*~**~*-

As a kid, I would play “adventure games” with my cousins, sometimes my brother, but often with just myself. I would create whole worlds in my mind drawing from the hundreds of books I had lost myself in by the age of  11. I would traipse through the woods for hours — during the summer…for days — running from imagined enemies, galloping along on an imagined horse, and falling hard for an imagined lover.

Sometimes my cat, Shadow, traipsed with me and served as my dragon hunting companion. Sometimes she and I would trade places and I would be the peaceful cat lounging in patches of sun while she went and did homework.

Sometimes I made costumes–long skirts and shawls (in the winter bundled in blankets)– and would run from some pretend enemy who hunted me because of who I was and what I stood for.

Sometimes in camouflage, I’d sit in a shallow fox hole that I’d dug with a rolled up scrap of computer paper hanging from my lips pretending to smoke a cigarette while I wrote pretend letters to a pretend home, contemplating my pretend life. A dampness and drizzle and buzzing mosquitoes brought me deeper into my imaginary world.

The woods were my best friends. The trees were my castles, my shelter. The long, deep boughs of the old hemlocks my great-grandfather planted were mountains. There were forts in the bushes, and wild raspberries provided sustenance. The rendezvous point at the pile of old bricks.  Black walnuts with their hard yellow husks were grenades. The ridges and ravines and bushes and the shoreline of the creek were characters in my stories and served as the loose boundaries to my world that flowed in and out of reality.

Mountain laurels were a constant friend – something about their leaves and flowers made me stop for a moment from whatever adventure was in progress and admire and finger the sticky, interestingly shaped blossoms and the tough, smooth dark evergreen leaves. And then I’d jump, both feet, full force, back into some other time and place…

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