Sunday, May 13, 2012

Nature people

I grew up less than a quarter of a mile from the Chattahoochee River. Luckily for us, the zoning commission viewed the area along the Chattahoochee River a flood zone and did not permit building on this land. On those three nearby acres, we spent our time exploring, practiced driving our green Vespa, built forts and bike jumps. After snowstorms, we made snowmen and carved out angels. Eventually, to our dismay, a family of four built a 5000 square foot house on the land, despite the zoning commissions earlier "flood zone" ruling.

I can recall that I was very afraid walking the mile and a half home in the early evening past the undeveloped flood zone. I was never afraid of natural disasters, or the animals who lived among us, but of people, like the flasher who periodically cruised our middle and high school campus with no pants on. I was afraid someone like the man without pants would  cruise up, knock me off my bicycle and push me into his car, never to be heard from again.

The memories etched in my mind are of thunderstorms without power, long-legged wasps nested in deck  corners, pet turtles who ran away, the dank smell of red clay cellars, the conquered fear of racing down the steepest driveway and the neighborhood dogs we knew by name - Gus, Boris, and the like - but never trusted.

1 comment:

  1. So familiar, in so many ways...

    For years, a flasher lurked the heavily forested neighborhood around my school. I never saw him, but I knew people who had, including my sister. Until I was seven, I was mostly scared of the bobcats behind my house, but at some point, I started getting more scared of serial killers and of ghosts. You guys had Wayne Williams, of course, but there were some nasty incidents over where we lived too.

    If there's one thing I miss up here, it's summer thunderstorms. They used to happen so often back home. We'd sit on the screen porch, drink iced tea, and feel the spray on our legs.