Sunday, April 01, 2007
This is my second version of deep, dark, (this week's Sunday Scribblings prompt), the one which does not refer to secrets except perhaps as a childlike metaphor. The first draft I wrote was about secrets and my profession and I wasn’t sure if I should post it. I didn’t reveal anything confidential but I’m learning that when I get too “shrinky” my posts may distress a few people.
During my childhood, we moved frequently. I calculated once, I had around 16 homes in my first 16 years. I wasn’t a military child, but my parents divorced when I was 6 and there was a bit of downward mobility afterward as well as the inevitable weekend and holiday visitation with my father, the non-custodial parent.
There was one house we lived in that had a special meaning for me. It was the house we owned from when I was around 4 or 5 years old until after my parents divorced and my mother sold the house and moved us to the first of many apartments. This house was built on the side of a hill at the base of a deep ravine. We literally could look up and see a bridge passing overhead far above us. The hill was so steep that both the ground floor and the basement had full length windows on one side.
Our house had a grass yard, a vegetable garden (there is a picture of me and my father next to some gigantic sunflowers), and a stream in the back. I spent hours wading in the stream, attempting to dam it, exploring up and downstream. There was a deeper bit that passed through pipes under the road. I think I went through the pipes a few times but I was scared of the crawfish in the deeper parts. Some kid once told me that they would bite my toes off.
The hillside above our house was forested and had a cave that we called the “bat cave.” It was a small, dirt cave leading into the hill. This cave fascinated me, of course. I had been warned never to enter it due to the risk of cave-ins. This time, as many times later in life, my good sense overcame my spirit of adventure and I never did go in. I’ll never know now what treasure it contained or if bats did indeed roost there. It probably was a dirty, stinky hole that didn’t lead anywhere but in my memory it leads to a part of my past that will never be forgotten.
I miss that house. I’ve driven the bridge over the ravine a number of times since I’ve been an adult but I haven’t yet taken the side roads to see if it is still there. Perhaps it is the deep, dark cave I am not allowed to enter. But I hold out hope that one day I will knock on someone’s door and say, I used to live here back in the 1960’s. I hope they will give me a tour. Perhaps I’ll check out the bat cave too. If that is still there, there probably wasn’t much risk of cave-in after all.