The Great Outdoors


I have always loved being outside. I lived in the perfect place to be outside as much as possible. It didn’t matter if it was 20 below or 103, I wanted to be outside.

My childhood home was on top of a hill on a long dirt road. There were no neighbors for about a mile in any direction. There were miles and miles of endless fields and forest to explore. There were streams to catch crayfish and minnows. Red belly racer snakes and salamanders to catch in the forest and fields.


At the crossroads at the bottom of our hill was an apple orchard where I could go pick apples in the fall. Across the street from there was a pine forest that was perfect for getting pine boughs for Christmas wreaths. Wild flowers like tiger lilies and queen Anne’s Lace grew along the roadside. The fields would explode in a sea of bright yellow in the spring with dandelions and with mustard plant in the fall.

I spent hours making mud pies and catching frogs in our pond. I loved to get some of the polliwogs in a jar and watch them grow legs and lose their tail as they developed into frogs and toads. I was a bit of a tomboy.

At nighttime, the sky was so dark you could see every star in the sky. I used to love to sleep out back under the stars and listen to the crickets all night. On a special night, we’d have a bonfire.

My mother always had beautiful gardens. She planted all kinds of flowers. Roses. Dahlias. Cosmos. Lilies. Butterfly bush. She kept bird feeders and even had one for hummingbirds. The maple tree in our side yard always drew thousands of ladybugs even fall. I love ladybugs and this huge mass of red beetles was infinitely fascinating to me.


I feel like I have searched for the bliss of my time outdoors as a child. I think that everyone does this in a way. It’s hard to say even now if I would trade this time with being raised in a more diverse environment. I’m inclined to believe that both can exist at the same time. Where I have settled with my family seems to me the perfect blend of wide open spaces and diversity. That’s why I’m glad that I am able to provide both for my children.




About sjwoods318

Mother of six children - five girls and one boy; wife; community organizer, family chauffeur, philosopher, trans-racial adoptee, Deadhead, person of mixed racial heritage, artist, poet, writer who loves to swim, read, and run around with my family.
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