I didn't grow up quite like anyone else. The main place I grew up is right where the Cascades meet the Sierra Nevada's. Mount Lassen is just at the end of the Cascades, It's volcanic rubble from an eruption in 1914 reminding us of that. My front yard was not a yard. There was a paved road and then forest. The forest was owned by somebody, and trails went through it, but it still felt like a living breathing thing.
It was a walk across my small five road town and across the train tracks into PGandE territory before I could find a slightly more wild bit of the forest. The forest in front of my house had felled trees all over after a particularly windy storm, and the debris made running and jumping about rather fun, but the lack of animals to chase and observe left it feeling less real than the meadow behind our house, filled with ducks and geese.
I know so much of that forest so well. I injured myself on more trees than I can count. The sticking up branches sometimes would scuff my knee, and the trees with lower branches were never safe from a climbing.
I still love a good tree to climb. The deciduous trees down in this valley have so many more bends and so much more to grab onto than the pine trees of my youth. The heat here is so much worse than the relative cool that was always there in my home town. 80 degrees was a hot summer, and we'd had snow almost every month of the year.
we were where the air was thin and the water unfiltered. My friends and I would go to drink from the broken pipe over at the spring that spouted fresh clear water that was being pumped to the houses in the small town.
As intellectually confining as the place was, it was definitely physically freeing. The forested half of my upbringing makes me feel a little boxed in when surrounded by anything other than trees. I still climb trees whenever I find one worth, and I still feel like there is little better to do with ones day than go on a walk to just write in some place with birds and trees, and a little bit of water.