Think of the place where you were happiest as a child. Where is it?
I thought of several:
Grandma and Grandpa Spencer's condominium swimming pool. I loved swimming. To be suspended in microgravity, with freedom to move in any direction. To play and move. And then, wrapped in a towel, with wet hair and burning eyes, to eat fluffy chocolate chip cookies in the cool air of the condo.
Our orchard. Rows of apple trees, seemingly endless to young eyes. I was privileged and could wander; my neighbors contained themselves in rigid boxes made of fences. I helped: pile up pruned sticks in the spring for a bonfire and hotdogs; scatter white fertilizer pellets near the trunks; plow furrows with the tractor; harvest sweet apples, peaches, plums, cherries.
Our wet lawn. Inch-deep water from irrigation. Bare feet, bare chest, sneaking pea-pods and black-caps from the gardens. Chasing chickens for sport.
Our rectangular trampoline. It had more bounce than any other I knew. On hot days, I would wait impatiently for the sun to fall behind the house and I'd drag the tramp almost to the bricks; with a little shade I could spend all evening there, especially with the smell of fresh-cut grass or a family reunion barbecue.
The Fort. It was a collaboration. And a creation. Something that would not have existed but for our imaginations and our proactivity. Kris led, I worshiped. We salvaged scraps from Uncle Paul's housing construction (and one local eatery); we taught ourselves carpentry; we furnished and adorned it; we lived there as a refuge from rules and parents; we invented; we pioneered: we even farmed. It was our frontier, our manifest destiny. My Zion.