Neile Graham (neile) wrote,
Neile Graham

Les Semaines January 23, 2011: A Childhood Razed and Bulldozed

Well, they might not have used a bulldozer. I mean, the land is pretty steep, so a bulldozer would likely have been dangerous. No, I think they did use a bulldozer: the land is pushed around enough in parts.

My sister is visiting my parents, and they went to see (what was left of) the place I grew up, the house that my parents spent most of their married life in. A house they designed themselves and put a huge amount of sweat equity into. We moved in there when I was ten, and my parents moved out after I was married and settled in Seattle.

I dream of that house often.

She posted pictures on facebook. The house is still there. Damaged and neglected, but there.

But it was on the edge of an acre and a half of second-growth forest. Forest I spent much of my childhood playing in. Reading in. Making forts. Writing my first decent poems in. It was suburban, not pristine. And not first growth. There were old car seats in one place and I once found a truly explicit porn magazine in another and there were a lot of bottles from when kids had parties in the woods (one fort was named Fort Whiskey after the bottles there). But there were gorgeous dogwoods that bloomed outside our windows. A view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which probably is "better" now that all the trees have been razed.

The land is being subdivided. Or it would be, if anyone wanted to build on sand at the edge of a ravine in this housing market.

Fort Whiskey is gone. The alder that had a perfect branch to sit on right in front of its trunk so you could lean back on it. All the fallen cedars I used as trails. The moss. Those dogwoods. The zone of ferns. The nearly vertical trail at the edge of the property line. The cemetery area where a couple of my cats were buried. The currant bush that bloomed outside my bedroom window.

My cats' playground. My dream-ground. It's ugly now. And unused. Unnecessary. What a waste. A wasteland.


For my listening, reading, and writing news, see Les Semaines.

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