When I was little, I lived in a little house in Hadley, Massachusetts. It was in the countryside – it wasn’t cut off from civilization, but it was outside of the bustle of the town.
Three sides of my house were surrounded by a forest. That forest was my playground – I’d go on long walks with my dad, where we’d listen to the crunch of the leaves, climb on boulders, and run with my dog.
My favorite part of the forest was the vine swing. About five minutes from my house grew a gigantic tree, and from the tree grew a vine that hung down, almost to the ground, and then grew back up again, forming a swing. This earth-made swing was better than any plastic playground in the middle of a busy park. This was Mother Nature’s playground, and I always felt like she made it for me.
I would play on the vine swing for hours, but when I got tired out my dad, my dog and I would venture on to the apple orchard that lay just a few minutes walk ahead.
For my younger self, this forest held everything. It was a place to play, with a million little adventures that entertained me for hours on end. I don’t know how big the forest really was, I only ever saw this one section. But through all of my adventures, I always felt like this one little part belonged to me.