Millennium Memoir
Moon and Stars . .



In the misty, chill fog-laden air of this December Day, I found an echo of my days on the playground. Soggy days of trodden rotting leaves, the discarded carcasses of chestnuts, mixed with the cries of children and the smells of wet shoe-leather and dying plant life.

We still had a lot of recess in fourth grade -- a full hour to play, to talk, to wander and dream.

As my teachers often noticed, I would sometimes eschew the companionship of my fellow students and simply wander about the playground, watching other kids play, hiding out in the tree stumps and amusing myself with stories I made up in my head, using the rich world of materials available to me in the trees and on the ground as props and fodder.

At the far end of the playground was a set of tree stumps, rotted at the core in the case of some, solid and sturdy, still rooted to the ground in the case of others. I delighted in jumping back and forth between them, lying down with my cheek pressing into the damp wood, gazing intently at the rings in the wood, seeing an entire world in the interstices of the pulp beyond the world I lived in.

In the summer, ants scurried back and forth carrying food into the boles. Once some boys tore apart one of the stumps to reveal the fat bloated bodies of larvae in a scattered bed of wood chips.

I never looked at those stumps in quite the same way again.

At the back of the yard were towering rhododendrons, with twisted branches, perfect for hiding away from the rest of the world at any time of year. Countless years of leaves were trapped in their bases, leaving a rich layer of loam and crumbled dry leaf beneath the muddy layers of more recent falls.

Sticks lay everywhere and gravel paved the yard, huge chestnut trees dropped their fruits and flowers at all seasons, alternating as weapons in our frequent group games or as decorative pieces for crafts projects.

The playground world was one of intense reflection and imagination for me, as well as carefree play. I dreamed some of my most beautiful dreams there, interspersed with visions of stark landscapes.

Now the playground is inside of me as well as the dreams, a holder, a cup for things that have become internalized in an increasingly practical world.

Moonlit Trees . .

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