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.

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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.

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