My first 6 or so years of life were spent in Tacoma, Washington, in an old Farm house alongside a gulch. The gulch was steep and brushy, and the river bed had long dried up thanks in part to an earthquake which evidently disrupted it's ebb and flow. I, along with my brothers and sister, would dash out of the house during play time--past the magenta Rhododendron bushes and the hovering apple trees. Carefully, we'd army crawl underneath the electric fence, around Freckles, past the salt lick, and to the entrance of the gulch.
The entrance was also the start of the escape route the cows used when they saw the butcher van drive to the pasture. Or the Bull van. Both vans were dreaded sites for these small-time cows.
Once there, careful footing was imperative, as we'd follow my oldest brother, John, down the steep slope, slipping and sliding, grasping at ferns and thick grasses along the way, ignoring the cuts from the thick blades. Once at the bottom, we'd run along the rock bed until we reached THE CAVE. The cave was actually a small, cleared spot, perfect for 4 scrawny kids to play and imagine and dream. We'd make plans to haul chairs and sleeping bags--that box of Ritz we saw in the cupboard-- in order to provide some sort of comfort for an overnight stay. We'd pretend to hide there from the wolves and we'd act out our defense plan once they did try to reach us in the dark. Even though these plans were never brought to fruition, I fondly remember those days of escape into dreamland.
It's been a long while since I've dreamt of wolves and caves :o), but now I get a kick out of our kids doing the same.
The girls have a similar place along The greenbelt and River. When the water is low, they clamor across the riverbed rocks to enter the Ship from the shore. They giggle with glee and hop rocks, occasionally getting their socks wet.
Not a care about the socks, though, when they see their beloved Ship: a small, woodsy clearing with a bright canopy of branches dotted with saturated colors of yellow, orange, and green. The girls gear up for their voyage each time they arrive at their special spot, sweeping it to get it ready for launch. They also grab branches to use as rescue sticks, in case anyone has an unfortunate fall into the ocean. They plan to bring a lunchbox packed with snacks the next time they come.
Here's THE SHIP.