By the time the woods were engulfing the cars in the canopy of, which was provided by the dense shade, as the cooler, darker woodlands encompassed our rural surroundings, we were anticipating the cool water of summer. The air grew noticeably cooler, as well as darker, when the forest surrounded the vehicles altogether. With the glory of trees all around, while realized we’d come upon a place by the side of road, where there was the most refreshing creek by the side of the road.
(I say the word crick, as in a Pennsylvania colloquialism.)
There was actually some gravel on the old roads in those days. There was no such thing as black top in the woods back then. A breeze picked up over all of nature, and all the leaves of the trees clapped their hands. There was foliage right up to where the gravel came, at roadside. We got out of the vehicles, climbed down the hill, to the noisy, babbling brook.
We’d stopped the cars by the side of the road, back when there actually happened to be a roadside and not some obnoxious metal fence. These days, there’s almost completely metal fence, but in those days there wasn’t. There was plenty of dust, and a little gravel here and there, to make the place feel more like home. That old road seemed like a much more comfortable place to be. There was a lot of old cars from the 60’s converged on the one spot where we were all planning to go wading.
These days there’s a lot of blacktop and a metal fence. The precipice has a less intimate interaction with the wilderness than we used to get. These days, folks put on all kinds of safety stuff on their kids, as if they’re something more than just kids. In our day and time, if one wanted to ride a bicycle, one just jumped on it and ride. Not now. Now, there’s all these helmets and pads.
Anymore, a kid has to be treated like they’re made of something different than what kids are made of. Your poor little dear might get a scratch or a brush burn someplace, as if we didn’t. There’s a lot more toys and a lot less physical effort. They’re more expensive, too. There’s cell phones and i Pads, and a whole host of things for kids, and maybe even adults, to play with.
Back then, there was a drop in air temperature as we approached the creek. With shear, unbridled desire, and a plethora of cool, babbling water to step into, we found ourselves delving directly into the water, heedless of the state of shoes or the state of pant-legs, but were young then. What does youth have to do with whether one’s pant-legs, or one’s shoe leather, were wet or dry.
By the time all of us were out of our cars, and were knee-deep in the cool water, nothing else mattered, except that we were all following the same unpaved “road” of the creek bed, knee deep in cold water just the way we wanted it. We felt cooler all round. But that was in those days, when we were called things like flower children, because that was the tradition in those times.
I used to think it was all about reefer, but soon enough, began to understand it was all about nature and trees. It’s impossible to say how much life itself has to do with trees. Life has nothing to do with reefer. When this world went haywire, the following winter, cops were driving me down to the Piedmont, going to the laughing academy for the first time. Life was about nature and trees.
When I was thinking back to that first trip, Rick was asleep. I, wide awake, walked over the mountain, and the wind blew through the tall grasses. Wind, always leaving, but never gone. It took some doing, but I found some waters tripping over stones. Water, always leaving, but never gone. Then, all the leaves of the trees clapped their hands. With all of nature to interact with I was at home.
Before the humans left, then life turned out to be one big hassle.
When the cops came up the mountain to take me to the state hospital, away from nature, life always had to do with trees and nature, from day one. Life has has everything to do with Nature, from the beginning. The cops couldn’t have understood anything like that concept, so I kept that idea to myself, and never breathed a word of it. I was growing accustomed to what one says to cops.
When I was a runaway, when I was little, I used to hang out in the woods all day. I’d play soldiers and whatnot. The woods have always been my friend. I trusted what happened in the woods too much. I ran from the first hospitalization I was ever introduced to, because I was scared. I went to the woods to get away from the things that were frightening me.
I was playing soldiers in the woods, and this whole crowd of guys walked by. I wanted to know where they were going, and they invited me to come along and find out. I went, and it was one of the worst mistakes I ever met in life. But it was because I always felt safe in the woods that I trusted those guys like that. I’ve gotten to the point were I have meaningful interactions with nature, through trees.
That one time at the college, I chose to postpone my class, because I was having an exceptionally meaningful interaction with a tree. There has never been a time I’ve ever had such a wonderful time listening to a tree. When that psychologist, who walked up to us, happened to be, was incredibly rude. I told him so, too. I wanted to get that guy to shut up, and let the tree talk.
What that tree had to say to me was really important, and this jerk interrupted him.
That psychologist had no idea of the significance of the conversation he was actually interrupting was, nor did he care. His only job was to kick me off campus for refusing to go to class. I thought I was a full grown man. What I was doing was sitting in the hot sun, refusing to go to class, while I listened to that tree. I have no idea what his assumptions were, but they were way over the top.
I was listening intently, to whatever a tree, of all things, had to say. I’d love to provide a transcript of that tree’s discourse right here, but what I’ve found is that the tree’s thoughts have entirely been eradicated from my memory, while these other random thoughts have not been. I’ve recalled a trip Mother and I had taken to the old canal, and I was headed for that.
We were finished with our trip to the canal, and Mother was driving us home.
By the time I jumped off the low bridge in Howard Co, I could only have imagined a nuclear holocaust was eminent. I was doing what I believed would have prolonged my life. Getting bitten by a whole host of bugs in the deep grass, over the side of the bridge, I climbed up over the top of the bridge, with great effort, since I’m not young. I stood there for a long time, waiting for what?
It was obvious there had been no nuclear blast. Columbia, MD, was no worse for the wear.
Yet, the cops came and arrested me, as I stood docile on the bridge, on Rt. 108, which wasn’t the least bit altered. They packed me off to the madhouse, where I was summarily put in an isolation chamber, as if I were a dangerous madman. I made not confessions whatsoever. One of the things that happened next, was because I’d already been put into an isolation chambers before.
I hate hell out of isolation chambers. I willfully, and with intent, broke my own right hand, against the inside of the isolation chamber door, when the door was locked against me. I’d like to think I’d have more self-control than that, but I lit in that door with a Karate twist punch, and broke one of the bones in my right hand. My rage summit-ed when the pain hit my right hand.
That crazy house turned out to be a pretty nice little laughing academy after awhile. Before I left Maryland, I had considered the place to be my preferred provider for quite some time. There were several teenagers on that ward then. Besides being accused of being a dirty old man once or twice, it was thoroughly interesting to watch all those youngsters, to see what they might do.
Now that I have no recourse whatsoever, to be a part of nature, or to see a forest of trees, in any direction I might care to go, and now that I don’t know one direction from another, I’ve got a repaired right hip and don’t drive. It looks like my days with nature and trees are a thing of the past. I need a rollator to help me keep my balance, and one does not take a rollator into the woods.
Also, nature has always had a calming effect on my nervous system, but nature has been canceled, as a resource for helping me calm down. I wish it were not so, but there are things that are.