I did. From the time I was about twelve, I would hike to the covered bridge at the creek, wander down the one lane road, and clamber down a very steep hill. At the bottom? A bunch of smooth, gray rocks, perfect for daydreaming and, okay, a little sunbathing, just where a burbling stream meets the creek.
It’s a peaceful place. The lane isn’t well-traveled, so it’s rare to hear the crunch of tires on the gravel. At worst, you might run into a fisherman or two, but they usually stayed downstream where the water is a little deeper.
I stopped going after I graduated college. By that time, most of my childhood dreams had been deflated, so there was nothing to fantasize about. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed it until the first time I went back, but I can’t tell you about that just yet. It was a lovely, special day, though, with dreams renewed and new ones born.
These days, I don’t get there as often as I’d like, not because I’ve given up on my dreams, but because I’m so busy living my dreams that I don’t have the time.
The other day, I took the time. It was a picture-perfect April day. Bright blue skies, puffy clouds, sunshine, a cool breeze, and, miracle-of-miracles, an hour to myself. So I walked through the village, appreciating the pink and white dogwoods, and the brilliant azaleas which had just come into bloom. And the greenness! Pale green leaves popping open on the trees and vibrant green grass. My allergies weren’t thrilled, but my soul was in Paradise!
The lane hasn’t changed much, although I do miss the handsome, screeching peacock that used to wander around, slightly aggressive but stunning all the same. The road is rough and pot-holed (it’s a Pennsylvania thing), more gravel than asphalt, but the crunch of the stones beneath my feet felt wonderfully familiar.
When I reached the hill, I had a moment of panic. When I’ve been away for a while, I tend to forget just how steep it is! But the path is clear and the steps that someone cleverly created many years ago are still there, so I made it to the boulders at the bottom in one piece.
So much has changed in the village since I was a kid. More houses, more people, less open space. My bend of the creek hasn’t changed at all. The gray boulders are still smooth and warm from the sun, still the perfect spot to lean back and let your mind wander. The stream still splashes over a tiny waterfall before it bubbles into the broad, flowing creek. Sunshine gilded the water, making it shimmer, and a yellow butterfly fluttered just above the surface before landing on the foliage.
I reclined on the rock, resting on my elbows, face raised to the sun. It was magical. Inspirational. Spiritual, even.
Dreams, old ones, new ones, flitted through my brain like the butterfly. Some of the sillier ones made me smile and laugh at myself; no I had not become a forest ranger as I’d once imagined! Some of the abandoned dreams were bittersweet, but only for a moment. The power of my current reality, the spectacular life that even my overactive imagination could never have invented, erased the bitter and left only the sweet.
As I wandered home, I reveled in the beauty of springtime in the village.
Spring reminds me that no matter how bleak and cold winter may be, new life will blossom every year. Spring reminds me that even when life is difficult, there is always something new waiting to bloom.
It’s spring in the village, and it is glorious!
It’s spring in the village, and life is beautiful!
Now get out and experience it!