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?