Nov 8, 2012

Day 17 Childhood

30 Day Letter Challenge

Day 17 — Someone from your childhood

I feel like all I do is talk about my childhood. You've heard about my childhood friends, about Ladybug, even briefly about the giant, mean kid down the street who used to beat me up. I spent a fair amount of my formative years crying before I learned that if he chucked a hammer at me I could throw it back and it would hurt him just as bad.
 I grew up on a cul-de-sac, a street which was closed off from everything and provided lots of space to play. Six of the houses on my street all had kids within a few years of my own age, so we grew up together in big backyards and long summer days. Because it was a safe, rural neighborhood, our parents gave us free reign, and we left to play in the river or ride our bikes several miles into the mountains or venture into town without any pesky questions. Think little rascals, to a point, though we didn't get in trouble much. When someone got hurt, we'd break an ice plant stalk in half and rub it on like Bactine. Was it a good idea? Probably not, but everyone learned how to soldier on.

When the days grew long, we ate dinner outside in the street and told ghost stories in the twilight. We played Kick the Can and Ghost in the Graveyard in the darkness. And then, when we got exhausted, we would pull out our sleeping bags and lawn chairs and set up camp in the road and watch for shooting stars in the clear, crisp sky and awake with dew on our faces. Or we'd awake in our beds, if it got particularly cold and our parents came to get us.

Once in a while the coyotes or mountain lions would come around out of curiosity, and we would all freak out. Coyotes are better, louder from further away, so we could scream and run into the nearest person's house and they get more scared of us than we are of them. No one ever got bit by either animal.
Milky Way from Mount Pinos - not my small mountain, but a similar view.
The one thing I love about living in a small town is the lack of light pollution. There's a camp at the top of one of our small mountains, and when you stand at the top, you can see in every direction. You can see the rolling hills continue for miles, or over another mountain range, or all the way to the ocean and the end of the earth. At night, more stars than you could have ever imagined blaze in the dark. The meteor showers here are spectacular, and as fire streaks across the sky, you can almost reach out your hand to touch it.

I think that's what I miss most.

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