Saturday, October 23, 2010

Journal entry by Lauren Castaldi

Walking up my driveway and seeing, for the first time that fall, the mysterious mushrooms sprouting through the cracks of my driveway. My brother and I would anxiously anticipate the appearance of these unusually large and oddly placed fungi, which for all the years of our youth walking to the bus stop, never failed to sprout. A ritual learned from our mother, we would wait until they grew to their full potential and then make a show of dancing and stomping on them, watching green fumes cloud around the pile of broken mushrooms. Puffy mushrooms we used to call them, because of the strange puff of green haze that exploded when they were crushed.

Weaving through the secret world of the woods in my backyard with my neighbor, looking for the perfect spot for a fort. Every fall a new one was built, in a new location with a new purpose. Gathering branches and twigs, and moving old furniture to be exposed to the elements of weather. We made secret undercover entrances, slowly built up these forts and eventually were completely enclosed in our private second world. Living in a home of nature, returning to civilization when we were pried back into our homes.

Catching dragonflies by day and fireflies by night. Mark and I would run through our field letting dragonflies crawl over our hands, comparing color and length and beauty of each. Naming them and giving them homes in our backyard, thinking those we saw the next day of the same color were the same dragonflies. By night, scanning the tree line for the flicker of light that exposed our prey. Running to the spot the light once was and standing still and silent until its next time to light up. Slowly we caught them and kept them for a few hours, releasing them when it was time to go inside.

Pretending to be lions when it snowed. Crawling on our hands and knees, protected by bulging snow gear through the mountains of our backyard. Naming rocks on the hillside and sneaking through paths we forced through the trees. Turning treacherous slopes into safe slides in the blanket of snow. Making lion homes in the hills and snow banks, living out lives of these animals until we were frozen, shaking, and so wet we were forced inside.

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