A Special Place: Homestead Nature Memories Growing Up

| 6/27/2018 9:17:00 AM

Tags: Wisconsin, farmstead living, Laura Berlage, nature memories, childhood memories, learning from nature,

sprawling maple brances

Looking upwards into the farm’s ancient maple trees.  Photo by Laura Berlage

There was this special little place, when I was growing up.  I never showed it to anyone—not intentionally anyway.  Oh, they could have found it easily enough by themselves, but when you’re a kid you love the idea of having a place all to yourself, especially when you’re always asked to share things with your little sister.

It was blackberry season, which was my favorite time of year, right around my birthday.  The canes were huge—bigger than me—tucked in between the red pines Mom helped Grandma and Grandpa plant back when they first bought the farm, back when Mom was 12 years old.

And there, just off the corner of the trails, was my little special place.  There was only one way in, between a honeysuckle thicket and the rough trunk of a big pine tree, into a natural bowl in the earth where a few wild blueberries grew among the moss and princess pines.  The blackberry canes were all around, higher than my head, arching over the bowl like a canopy, and I could sit there and pick and eat and no one would bother me—until the rest of the family started to wonder where I was.

It was cooler in that little spot and always damp enough that I’d squat rather than sit.  I’d look up through the canes and the pine branches above, swaying in the early autumn breeze.  It seemed so safe and magical there—a place where you might meet a fairy or a gnome.  I didn’t actually get to meet one, but I kept hoping I would.

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