My Story Chapter 14: Memories
When I was a little girl my parents owned a cabin in Prescott, AZ. They didn’t just own it, they built it from the ground up. I can remember them putting the deck on the front of it, hanging doors, and my mother, very pregnant with my baby sister, building a rock wall to enclose her garden. I can remember hiking around the hills sometimes alone and sometimes with my sister.
I remember laying on a boulder in the shadow of a deep ravine with pine trees climbing the hills around me until all I could see was a pale blue strip of sky. I christened it Lion Rock because I believed it was a part of Narnia and that when I went there perhaps Aslan himself would come speak to me. I remember digging up a small cactus with two shoots on it for my mothers yard in Phoenix. That cactus even now lives and thrives there, has about 30 shoots and bloomed for the first time this year.
The smell of warm pine needles in the balmy summer sun, the early mornings that I snuck out on the deck to watch the sunrise and the time my mom came out with me and told me that the tiny fairies that flew in the early sun’s rays were dust. The sound of the wind in the pines, the sound of the crows down the hill. The first time my mother let me go a day without a nap, The carousel horse my father hung between two trees so his cowgirl could ride it.
All this and more.
Our cabin sat atop a small hill joined by another off to the Northwest and atop that stood my Aunt and Uncle’s cabin and with them lived my cousin Matthew (They are actually cousins but we were so close that we called them Aunt and Uncle). My cousin, my best bud, my protector. I grew up with two sisters and Matt was my brother. He gave my husband and I the honorary title of Aunt and Uncle just as my parent’s gave it to his and so his little girl Macie is my niece. He is my brother, my friend, my partner in crime.
When we were children our families moved up to these cabins for the summer. We spent endless summer days playing through the hills exploring acres that were, for us, worlds. Our mother’s packed a lunch for us and we played from dawn till sunset. Sounds like such freedom but now I know that we were always within earshot and they could see us from both decks. We had a place we called ‘The Trails’ a winding section of woods and brush covered by deer trails that we ran as if they were secret passages. They only covered the side of a small hill but we could play there for whole days tracking bad guys, or hiding from them, looking for deer to hunt, or staying away from dinosaurs……
This was back in the days before cell phones and the cabins didn’t have phones at all so the only way for Matt and I to talk or ask each other over was to yell. I can remember sitting out on the porch reading and then hearing this far off voice yell, “Courtney!” “What?” I would reply, “Come over!” It would yell back, “Okay!” I would race up and tell my mom I was going to Matt’s, sometimes she would come with me and play Rummy Cube with my Aunt but most times I would walk. Oh those wonderful solitary walks through the woods where I fancied I could get lost and wander around for days! Where there were no sounds but birds and breeze. I would spend those walks dreaming of the things we would do when I got there. What adventures were in store for him and I that day. Cowboys and Indians in the trails, perhaps a meeting with Aslan at Lion Rock, (The last time we went we heard him roar) or a safari down the mountain……..
Our father’s both had four track’s and I used to go with my dad and he with his and we would ride whole days exploring back roads for miles. Just the four of us looking and going just to see.. I remember finding a dead cow on the side of the road once, just skin and bones then. We weaved a story of a cow’s revenge on two little kids who came to look then dared each other to walk calmly back to our father’s….. we both RAN back. I still have dreams about that cow…
I remember the day that my father and I went on my dad’s motorcycle to go visit with them and we went down the steep hill between us. A little way down the bike chocked and fell and so we walked back up and got on the old three track. Halfway down the hill we hit a rock and it flipped, it was coming down on top of me and my dad threw me over under the curve of the seat so it didn’t crush me. We walked the bike back up the hill and my dad asked if we should take the four track. I was scared, and he taught me about falling down and getting back up. I remember the day we rode for hours and came out on this point above the valley, we could see for miles. Or the time we found old abandoned train tracks….
So many things so many memories. My childhood so overtaken by my imagination.
Someday I hope that I am able to provide this for my children. A place where their imaginations can take them away to new worlds, to new places. The cabin is gone now, bought by a couple moving back home and rebuilt to be a home and not a getaway though my mother’s rock wall still stands. Matt’s cabin is still there and unchanged by time. He will inherit it when his parents are gone, and has promised many invitations so that our children can play together, run the same trails, be friends…….