Grow Like Bamboo

You know that odd sensation you get when revisiting places you used to frequent?  Perhaps it is a park or coffeehouse, your Alma mater or your childhood home.  With those visits come a strange mixture of feelings - nostalgia, excitement, sadness, distance.  You feel as if you are interrupting the past, watching yourself from a distance as you remember those particular pieces of your life.

Yesterday afternoon I took my son on a walk through my grandfather's property in the Appalachian mountains.  I had that odd sensation I describe because I grew up in those mountains.  Everything was new to my son - a world he had never seen before.  He threw rocks into the creek, ran his fingers up and down the bamboo stalks, and climbed out onto the wooden dock over the pond to see the small fish.   I narrated as we went, telling him how I'd  built the mud dam in the creek with my siblings one summer, and how we used to create forts by weaving the cut bamboo trunks through the pieces that were still growing, leaving small openings for windows and doors.  I told him about when my grandmother poured white sand next to the pond so we could pretend we were back at the beach, and how we used to play a  game called Roxaboxin after reading a children's book of the same name by Alice McLerran.  I showed him where I'd found the baby deer, surrounded by dogs down by the creek.  I pointed out my bedroom window with the stained glass that I always thought looked like Aladdin from the Disney film.

And then we came home.  I still feel a bit odd, as if I'd gone back in time for a few hours.  Even more astonishing is the realization that my son is only just beginning to build his own memories, a whole slew of stories that will influence who he eventually becomes.  It occurrs to me what a great deal of responsibility I have on my shoulders.  I must help shape those memories with him.


( hippies always welcome )