Footsteps to the past
Twice during my late-morning run, the smell of fall triggered wholly-unexpected, decades-old memories.
It was overcast when I set out, and even though it seemed warm for October, something the clouds and the bit of swirling breeze threw me back to freshman year at Bowling Green.
In particular, it felt – just for a second – like a late afternoon walk across campus, after the last class of the day. Golden hour, that: day’s big obligations tackled, dinner coming up, maybe I’ve got freshman play rehearsal that night, or maybe it’s just hanging out with friends, listening to music and goofing around. Maybe we’re going along with Jen to one of the performances she attends for her music appreciation courses. Maybe it’s Tuesday and The Wonder Years is on. Maybe we’ll go down to the fast-food place in the basement of our dorm for late-night Heath blizzards and onion rings.
A couple miles later, the wind was less present, and there was a kind of stillness along a stretch where some woods nudged right up to the road’s edge. The shaded, slightly damp air from the woods and the first fallen leaves put into my head the surprising image of the woods behind St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Canton, where I went to preschool and kindergarten.
Down behind the playground, there was a small woods where we were allowed to go during recess. A simple, dark green, triangular treehouse was in there, reached by a set of two-by-fours nailed to the tree. My best friend at the time lived just down the street from the church, and one day, he and his older brother and I walked over to play in the treehouse, but we were asked to leave by one of the teachers, since we weren’t actually attending school that day.
It was a hard run today, but worth it for those moments.
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