January 11, 2016 / Personal
A Story of Childhood
After only a few moments of playing on the swings, the cousins were bored and they ventured into the woods. The sun was setting and it appeared to make their skin glow a yellowy pink. The cousins climbed into the trees as if they were monkeys in a jungle and broke off the dead, dry branches and vines. They collected sticks off of the ground and handfuls of pine needles and dry earth. They found empty cardboard beer and soda boxes in the garage. There was even an old, cumbersome desk that one of the boys dragged out. This was going to be the biggest bonfire ever!
The eldest boy held his machete with both hands and chopped at some of the larger branches, swinging with all of his might. Whack! Whack! Whack! He only stopped for a moment to wipe a trickle of sweat from his brow. He knew that soon there would be a liter of soda for each of them and plenty of marshmallows and chocolate to go around for s’mores!
As the sky cooled from a brooding fuschia to a soothing cerulean blue that felt like a warm, fuzzy blanket that wrapped itself around you, the boy struck a match and threw it onto the pile. He lit another and another and another. There was mostly smoke at first, and for a few moments they became frustrated and one of the boys kicked at the pile and shouted. But ever so slowly, a bright, yellow, flickering tongue of a flame slithered up and around one of the branches and the fire began to take hold. Then before they knew it, the fire had devoured the cardboard boxes and giant flames leapt into the air, reaching for the darkness of the night. Sparks cracked and popped up into the sky and the cousins stared at the fire in awe, then jumped and clapped their hands with joy. They had created a living, breathing beast that roared and snarled to be fed more! It appeared that it might even snatch up one of the children if they got too close, but they were quick and darted and dashed beyond the fires grasp. They tossed on more sticks and boxes and they poked at the beast until they were exhausted and there was nothing left to throw onto the fire. The cousins collapsed in a circle on the ground and sat silently. They watched until the rage began to quiver and recede and the reflections in their eyes began to fade.
They sighed, they yawned and they rubbed their weary little eyes. Everything had turned to ash. Every branch, box and pine needle (and most of the desk) had disappeared, been turned to dust, to be returned to the earth and start as something new.