I remember when we lived on Winnebago Drive, I was maybe eight and my brother six, we would go exploring in the ravine just past our backyard. It was sometime in the Fall because the leaves were changed to gold and red and many had already fallen into piles across the floor of the woods that separated our house from another subdivision. We had on colored turtlenecks and sweatshirts with fanny packs stuffed with pencils, small notebooks and, the occasional tube of Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers. The sound of a football announcer’s commentary echoed from the radio left on the back porch where Mom and Dad supervised.
We were setting out to explore the ravine — the dangerous hill that never returned our wayward bouncy balls. We were anthropologists, sitting on “boulders” that we would climb and lounge on as we scribbled notes and elementary drawings of leaves and rollie pollies.
We would call to each other as we deciphered a trail along the narrow creek at the bottom of the ravine.
“Watch out for the low branch!”
“Do you think snakes live out here?”
We stomped around in our tightly laced hiking boots to ensure looming vermin would not venture out of their hiding places.
I remember thinking how important the woods were, even the giant rocks we sat on, the high view they gave us of the creek — the trickling water looked like a vein from that height. It made me feel my veins; the blood rushing through me was warm in my cheeks.
The two of us sat in silence. Not because we planned to, or because we were mature enough not to yell at the ravine to have it echo back at us. We surely did do that. But the rocks and the ravine and the creek and the snakes and the long returning walk to our backyards made us silent. It was a lot for our young minds, to see more than we had seen before. The ravine was so big, and we were discovering that seeing the ravine was big, too.
Here is the companion video I published on YouTube:
What are your favorite memories from the Fall? I hope you have marvelous plans for Thanksgiving!