Friday, April 28, 2017

8 Minute Memoir, Day 25: Outside

"Go play outside!"  I can still hear my mom's voice in my ears.  My brother and I--and our daytime siblings--were lucky to have the lay of the land.  Growing up, we lived on a rural road where we had neighbors but we definitely did not live in a subdivision like most of our friends.  We had a huge yard, with a swimming pool, a playhouse (built by my grandpa at his house and transported on a trailer over to ours), and a basketball hoop off the shed.  Hours and hours and many sunny days, snowy afternoons, spent playing and exploring and imagining.

So, we'd go outside.  We would play in the yard, play on the swings, walk across the logs that made up the planter on the west side of the house like we were on a bridge, crossing a wide river.  We had a trampoline for a little while, which was always a fun and dangerous diversion as we would often practice flips and wrestling moves long into the evening. We would frequently take our bikes and ride around the block, with the expectation there were certain roads we weren't allowed go on.  For the most part though, we had free reign of the neighborhood.  This was before cell phones, before kids started staying inside all day playing video games or obsessing over their phones.  Summers frequently found me with freckles and blonde hair bleached green from the pool, and I though I was never very athletic I enjoyed watching my brother and his friends play ball.

We created worlds of make believe and adventure in our backyard and beyond.  We used to ride our bikes down to the dead end just past our neighbor's house; there was a large, fenced off pasture and a small grove of trees and we would ride down there and be in another world.  Now the dead end is no longer a dead end and the large, fenced off pasture is now home to a mansion.  Though it wasn't really all that long ago since we were kids, running around outside until dinner, and then afterwards, until it started getting dark, it has changed so much.

I know times have changed since I was a kid, and I also know that I live in a very different area now than I did then.  But I hope that my kids can enjoy the freedom of playing outside like I did, that un-tethered excitement and joy, filled with possibility and adventure.  I can't wait to tell my kids to go play outside... to watch them enter worlds of imagination and nature.

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