The road to my mother’s house is a narrow country road that
winds up through a wooded hill.  It is a
secondary, town road, one that oozes tar when it is hot; and that makes popping
sounds when driven on; or stomped on by small kids’ sneakers.

As I drove away from there today, the sound of that tar
popping beneath the truck tires took me back to my childhood, and the seemingly
endless hot days of those long ago summers.

I was reminded of riding our bikes over that hot tar,
listening to the popping of those bubbles as it competed with the clacking
noise of the playing cards that were pinned to the spokes of the tires. We had
such fun stomping on those tar bubbles until the ‘lesson’ taught by our dad
when we tracked that tar into the house.

The wood started at the edge of the lawn, where berry bushes
continue to grow.  There were
thorn-apple trees that earned the wood its nickname, ‘the thorn lot’.

Paths wound through the trees, making their way to the creek
that meandered down from the hill above.
I always liked to imagine that those paths were made by long ago
Indians; when in reality they were from my brothers…brothers who were enough
older to have made them before I was old enough to play there.

In the spring, the trees would be alive with red-winged blackbirds
and starlings, turning the quiet country day into a symphony of sound that I
miss today.

The small creek continues past my mother’s, down over the
hill and into the lake. It cuts through the hill, creating a steep bank at the
edge of the road.

The creek bed is flat rock, just right for sitting on while
the water rushes around you.  My
brothers and I would wade through that cold water, finding tadpoles and
salamanders while watching the water spiders dance over the surface.

In the spring, the water would rush, ice cold and fast, down
over the rocks to be swallowed in the water of the lake below.  In the summer, it would slow and thin out,
waiting for a good soaking rain to get it running again through the willows
that lined its banks.

There are massive trees that still stand there, and elder
willows that have split in half, making natural enclosed seating for those that
want to climb up into them.  Some of
these willows lean over the creek, making round bridges to crawl out over the

Most of the wood is gone today, cleared out for new people
that want a piece of that quiet country life.

The memories, however, remain to be taken out and treasured
during the hectic days that make up our adult lives.

© Drusilla Mott and, 2011



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