March 19, 2007


There used to be a bamboo patch next to our home where I grew up in rural Georgia. It was a strange little bamboo patch. It felt odd sitting there among the pine trees and poison ivy dotting the road that ran adjacent to our property. The bamboo patch served as my secret hideaway when I wanted to escape from my family. As such I had the "rooms" of the bamboo pimped out with rusted folding chairs and an old red wagon which served as a table.

The bamboo patch did indeed have rooms: spacious chambers of worn down earth covered with yellow, fallen leaves. Hidden "doors" lead to winding tunnels which criss-crossed the interior of the bamboo patch offering secret access to our neighbor, and tom-girl, Kiley's yard. The doors were nothing more than simple, narrow spaces between the bamboo thickets choked with green leaves the shape of daggers, but to my childhood imagination they were elaborate portals through which I could disappear into a hidden world.

I can remember laying there during those Spring afternoons, my clothes a little wet from the soggy ground, my first dog, Possum, sitting beside me (you never really get over your first dog when you're a boy from the country) and listening to the birds, watching the blue sky high above me through long, thin bamboo stalks, smelling the nature and my good ole wet dog... Everything was so quiet and so peaceful and so traquil.

Living in the city this time of the year really gets me down. I'm longing to return to nature. I often feel panicky and anxious sitting in the subway surrounded by strangers. Other stresses in my life have certainly played a major role in my terrible funk lately, but above all else -- I think I'm just ready for Spring.

Maybe I'll buy a little bamboo stalk from Chinatown for the new apartment.

1 comment:

Eric said...

I sincerely, hope you feel better soon. Your story reminds me of something similar, but opposite, from my childhood. I grew up next to a woods until it was bulldozed for a cul-de-sac. A woods, no matter how small, holds no end of mysteries and adventures for a little kid. Just beyond the swing set my back yard was a tangle of branches and vines that looked like a big nest. The Big Kids in the neighborhood called it the Devil's Nest. Just to scare. And it worked. It was a terror to behold even in brightest daylight. And sometimes I imagined that if I swung too high on my swing set, the Devil would reach out from the woods and take me away. I never swung on that thing after dusk.