On long drives through Wyoming’s dry landscape, my eye scans the scenery, but my mind wanders. The expanse leads me to question life’s bigger questions, sing loudly to songs, or reminisce on my childhood. Today it is fragments of my childhood that surface, demanding to be remembered and shared.
As an introverted child in the seventies, I lived in imaginary worlds that existed in a time today’s children would not recognize. Sometimes I’d drag my younger brother Kenan into the complex workings of my mind, but I was perfectly okay to be by myself if he’d rather ride his green Big Wheel round the block and down the alley, wearing holes in the black plastic wheels. The empty lot next to our house was a prime location for adventures. Our shoes (sometimes bare feet) and bike tires should have put a dent in the accumulation of goathead thorns it contained, but, as we were always surprised to find them, they obviously didn’t, and so they became a prickling detail of summers.
Early Saturday mornings, before the cartoons began, consisted of taking my blanket and draping it over me as I crouched on the floor heater vents. Warmth captured in my body yurt, the hot air flicking my long fine hair around my face, I listened to the house sleep. Dust moats floated in the sunlight the window filtered. I moved to my side, hard wood floor my bed and crook of my arm my pillow, my blanket spread out over the warm vent and me, and watched. Tiny fluffs, a mystery. Were they worlds? From where did they appear? Minutes ticked by and still I gazed, following the movements of one mote’s path from sun-kissed existence to shadowed absence. Our Siamese warrior, Studley, joined me, the warmth of the spot more enticing to him than the flecks. His eyes half-closed, willing to share this Zen moment yet observing me warily, ready to flee if my intentions shifted to unruliness. I lifted my free arm, fingers stretched, connecting to a speck, invisible to others but magical to me.