Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Walk from School

The first place we settled down on Vancouver Island was about three miles out of Duncan, toward Cowichan Bay. At the foot of Mt. Tzouhalem was an old house, recently bought by a couple from Los Angeles. My parents were hired as caretakers. It sat on a hundred acres of woodland, including part of the mountain. Like Christopher Robin, I played in the 100 Acre Wood. I also walked about half a mile through it to and from school. In cold or wet weather the trip was miserable but when Spring came, and early Summer, I was frequently late for school and even more frequently, late home.

The sun filtered down through the canopy of the Pacific Rain Forest to the moss below. There was magic everywhere. The birds were never silent, and wildflowers lurked like jewels amid the green. A little path wound through the trees to disappear along the edge of an escarpment. I knew my King Arthur! There could be a knight by the little brook, challenging all comers. There might be a Questing Beast just behind that huge pine. I would recite "Jabberwocky," loudly, and with joy.

Eventually, my mother's voice would call me back, and once again, I'd be walking home from school, in my dowdy uniform and sensible shoes.

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