Saturday, October 08, 2005

Living La Vida Salvaje

Category: Issue 1, Life Winners

I grew up about 6 miles outside of a very small town. My Mum was usually too busy financially supporting us to be able to keep an eye my siblings and myself, and my father was usually too busy drinking.

We lived in the edge of one of the local Native American reservations, and at the back edge of our property was an immense stretch of land that went right to the mountains behind and up to the bright, blue sky.

We were able to go down a hill, and we could wander through the woods, play near the river and just be little wild children. In the summertime, my siblings and I would leave very early in the morning, and we’d usually wander back home in time for dinner. Our lunches were usually things foraged from the woods or taken on the way past our parent’s garden, so we ate a lot of wild onions and strawberries and the like.

In the wintertime we would wander the still woods, and lose ourselves in the deep snow, running and playing, making snow angels and having snowball fights. At times the area would almost take my breath away with its beauty.

One of the great things about growing up in this way is the freedom we had to just “be”. I remember lying in the tall, tall grass behind our home for hours, just watching the cloud pass over the sky. I remember being outside under a big blue plastic tarp to watch meteor showers in the middle of the night. I remember being on the reservation land and seeing all kinds of animals that most people only ever see in zoos – the deer, the moose, creeping and crawling creatures and even, once, a full grown grizzly.

I don’t feel that I would let my son have these same freedoms that I had as a child, because the world can be a very dangerous place, but I am very grateful that I was able to truly experience that kind of life. I feel that the good memories I have from that will probably sustain me all through my adult life, whether I’m living in the city, the country, or somewhere in between.

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Old Comments

  • Yearning for the same imagery as I read this, I find myself wondering if the world really is as dangerous as you perceive it to be.  I see no financial upside for publishers who spread the news about the comparative risks to life and limb of various activities for people of various ages such as:
    10-year olds riding a horse.
    20 year olds riding in a car.
    15 year olds going to highschool.
    5-year olds playing in their backyard.
    5-year olds playing unsupervised by the side of a creek.

    I suspect that the wild and free life you got from your parents is a little less dangerous than the average life parents are giving their children today.  Mostly I suspect this simply because no one would make much money proving it, but they can make a lot of money suggesting that it isn’t true.

    Anyway, I got that warm-feeling reading it.  Thanks.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/08  at  04:09 PM
  • Hmm, that’s a great point. It would be very interesting to really look at how dangerous a life like my childhood would be in comparison to, say, a child living in a dangerous part of Chicago. (Once a sociologist always a sociologist?)
    When I do look at some of the things we were allowed, such as my driving a snowmobile at age 5, I sometimes wonder if my parents were nuts, but realistically, it was probably safer than crossing a busy highway to get to school.

    Anyway, thanks for the comments. smile

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/08  at  04:26 PM
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