When I was a kid there was a pond down the road from where I lived and it had this very tall grass all around it. My friends and I would create a path through the grass to get to the water. We liked to scare each other about the snakes that would skim along the top of the pond. I’m pretty sure that was the main reason we made the trek to the water and then spent hours clearing a path to it. The snakes were small, but they still made us scream with nervous laughter. We could had fun doing almost nothing back in those days.
Small unkempt ponds are pretty fascinating places to watch wildlife. There are always bugs and birds and wild plants covering every available space. We spent hours staring into the water watching tadpoles grow legs, watching those funny bugs that float on top of the water, and hoping to see a fish. I am sure my friends and I were not supposed to be there, but these were the days when kids roamed the neighborhood and only showed up at home for mealtimes, or when the sun went down. Our parents were content to let us get into some mischief as long as we were outside and not inside driving them crazy.
I think back on some of my fondest memories and they often include being in a place where I technically wasn’t supposed to be. Or at least in a place nobody knew I was visiting. We explored the woods behind our neighbors houses, nearby ponds, old cemeteries, and even some abandoned campsites likely created by a few homeless people. These places always fascinated me. There would be half-rotted clothes hanging from trees and old cans. I always felt like an explorer even though I was probably within a mile of my house. We once found a deers antler. It was like we had discovered a treasure chest filled with gold.
Sometimes when I am painting with alcohol inks these memories come back to me. I find myself putting a little piece of my life story into a painting. I guess that it is a way to give my experiences meaning and to remind me of where I come from.