Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Hill

Last week I drove to a dirt road that I once traveled on every day by bus. I had not been on this particular road in more than 25 years.

During my travels as a child on the bus, this particular stretch of what was then an hour and a half ride brought me joy. This was because my dinosaur lived down this way.

The dinosaur was a fallen log trapped in a fence beside the road, and to my mind it looked like a dinosaur. The monster greeted me up until about the seventh grade, when my imagination failed and I couldn't find him anymore.

The last time I traveled this road was in 1983; my husband and I parked at the dead end one night for a long chat about our pending nuptials.

The road is no longer dirt; it's been hard surfaced. Houses have sprung up along the road, decapitating what used to be farmland.

There certainly was no dinosaur. Just a lot of houses.

I came to the dead end, which was at the foot of a steep hill. My destination was the house beyond. I drove a long way on a gravel driveway, winding around and then up and up a rather stiffly inclined path.

I rounded the corner to the house and the view opened up. The first thing I saw to my left was this:

To the casual observer it's a mountain with a grassy spot.

To me, it was the place I grew up. Yes, I rounded the corner and there was one of the fields my father owns. If you look closely you'll see the corner of the house he built in 1976 nestled in the woods.

I had never seen the hill from that angle, but I knew exactly where that grassy spot was. I confirmed it with the homeowner when I gestured toward the view and nonchalantly asked if that field wasn't over on a particular road.

This is the field where my brother and I played. We chased cows, picked wild strawberries, ran up and down like wild things until we collapsed panting in chairs on the back deck. I once lay alone on top of that hill and watched the sky all night, waiting for shooting stars.

I have not been back since July 2000. My mother died a month later.

My father and I have been estranged since that time. I do not regret it. But sometimes it is a steep hill to climb.


  1. Some nice and sad memories all rolled into a nostalgic moment. Easy to relate to.

  2. A touching post that brought a lot of things in my own life to mind, and gave me an idea for a poem. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Remember I wrote that I felt there was a poem in this post. Well it finally got out and is on my blog. Thank you for the inspiration.


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