Monday, December 27, 2004

roaming the fields and woods

Mandy and I made it to our favorite "holler" yesterday.  This is the view from the north.  As I look at this picture, I drift back in memory to my childhood, and other similar, magical places.

When I was young, I loved wandering in pastures and through woods.  It was an adventure to reach the top of a big hill and see what the view was like on the other side.  We lived in small towns most of my childhood, but I spent lots of time at Grandma's house, where there was plenty of space to roam safely.  There was even a creek to wade in (I remember leeches attaching themselves to my legs once, and Grandma holding a lit match to them to make them let go).

I wanted to be an Indian.  I'd quiz my mom about our family tree, hoping there might be native American bloodlines somewhere far back.  Her grandfather had come to the USA from Canada, and I'd ask if perhaps he could have been a Canadian Indian; and she'd say no, not so far as she knew.  This must have stuck in her mind though, because in later years she told people her grandpa was part Indian.  The other relatives were very surprised, having never heard this tidbit of (untrue) information.  There was no correcting her, unless you wanted to provoke her anger!  And  I can imagine someone in succeeding generations searching the family tree and hearing from some old codger, "Old Great-Grandpa Smith was part Indian, I hear."

I'd head to the woods on my imaginary horse with an invisible tribe of Blackfoot Indians surrounding me.  I took turns playing different parts:  I'd be a squaw with a doll tied onto my back awhile, picking up kindling; then a brave heading out on a war party; then the chief, ordering the others around.  Sometimes I'd get caught up in the game so thoroughly that I could almost feel and smell my horse; and I'd think how much better the whole thing would be if I only had a real horse.

When I was thirteen, my parents and I went on vacation to the Black Hills.  I was in the back seat looking at the road map as we crossed into South Dakota, and noticed there was an Indian reservation not far off the beaten track.  Mother (she was always the driver; Daddy hated to drive) obliged me and took the meandering route through the reservation.  There was a small town there, and everyone in the town was brown-skinned.  I was ecstatic to see that many real native Americans at once!

When I'm in the woods now, or riding my horse on the river bottom, I don't imagine things... but I remember how much fun it was when I did.

And I still have some fascination with Indians.  I wonder why? 


fierrorachel said...

I don't know if your love of Indians sparked the "find the adventure in life" attitude that we both have, or if that attitude sparked the love of Indians, but it's why you (we) love to travel and see new places.  We don't even mind getting lost, since it shows us something we would have never seen otherwise.  Wanna go somewhere?

lacaza3 said...

my great great grandmother was indian I think cherokee not really sure exactly but her name was molly birdsong.....They say she was an indian princess not sure if that really means anything...
I've always wanted to know more but never really pursued it..Os I guess that make me part indian I guess although I dont look it

Donna in Texas

plieck30 said...

Wasn't it wonderful to be a child when we were and it was safe to roam any and everywhere? I grew up in a small country town and my mother never new where me and my sister were. Paula

ryanagi said...

LOL you've brought back some fond memories for me. I used to love to go roaming in the woods too. I never pretended I was a Native imagination ran more towards fairies, wood nymphs, unicorns and the like. ;-) I got ticks. No leeches, thank goodness.

toonguykc said...

Maybe your Indian name should be "Walks With Mandy".  Or "Gets Up Too Early".  That's just off the top of my head.  ;)  

dbaumgartner said...

I could use a nice peaceful walk down in your 'holler'.  What a lovely picture.  It just looks so peaceful there.