When I remember my childhood it is always warm, green, and spring. This is a bit strange since I grew up in Dummerston Vermont, a place not noted for either its warmth or long springs. My memories are more than images, but smells, sensations and tastes. Fuzzy dead dandelions tickling my nose; cold mud…. or was that cow manure… squishing through my toes, and butterflies fluttering through verdant fields. On hot days I would walk down to the local farm with a quarter and pull out an icy cold orange or grape Fanta from the 1950s era machine.
Once the leaves changed color it was time for school. I would wait on the country lane in front of my house for the old yellow bus to take me to my single-room schoolhouse. I remember that bus ride up over the mountain and through the woods like it was yesterday. Peering out through the window I would imagine that my fingers were axes cutting a thousand trees as we whizzed past. Once we arrived to the nineteenth-century wooden bridge I would know that the trip was nearing its end. As we crossed over the rickety structure, the bus made a plickety pluck sound as it hesitantly drove over the ancient timber. Would it hold this time? I would ask myself, as the flickering light of the autumn sunbeams glinted between the cracks of the gnarled beams. Once at school I was back in the real world of screaming little kids, and trying to prove myself in the competitive world of first and second grade.
That little boy has never left me. Indeed, he has returned in greater strength as I approach fifty. Though I have not been back to Vermont for thirty years, he lives on in my love of silence and my love of the rainforest found in my new home on Australia’s Gold Coast..