I love our ravine. It is a jewel amongst a growing metropolis populated by almost a million people. We have walked six generations of dogs, our two children, and many, many friends – all have been sworn to secrecy not to disclose the intricate pathways that lead into the forest.
One of the paths takes us across the creek to a very isolated place hidden by evergreens and pines. It is our Narnia. In the winter, once the creek has completely frozen and does not moan from our intrusion, we can walk for hours. (I have fallen through a few times! There is no fun in sloshing home with wet, ice cold boots!), We can see the activity of the wildlife that went before us by the images in the snow – moose, deer, coyote, beaver, porcupine and even a brief hello from a lynx a few years ago. They are all reminders that we are only visitors.
The ravine holds an accumulation of memories of the passing years of our family growing up. A Family Album. Years of laughter, tears, dream making, problem solving and character building. It is a place where I have learned the heart’s of our children. Though their visits to the ravine are fewer now, it is still a wonderful venue that engages and entices meaningful conversation.
It is my refuge. A place of quiet solitude for a few hours of personal reflection.
There is one place in particular that I pass by everyday that pulls at my heartstrings.
In the meadow stands two towering trees that once held a treehouse that our son and a few of his overly ambitious friends built. The creating of this major feat occupied them most of the summer. They had so much fun! I would venture down on my bike and bring the tenacious construction crew sandwiches and treats. One day I went down and saw that they had gone wild and started to build a third level. My protests to stop building higher fell on deaf ears. Early the next morning, the boys returned to find that their architectural wonderment had been completely dismantled. Even the tools that they had confiscated from our garage had been taken away in the night.
There was nothing left to Indicate the tangible dreams of the enthusiastic ten year olds, except the stairs that lead to the tops of the trees. They are still there as a rebellious testament.
As I am sitting and reminiscing, I cannot help to chuckle. We have had such a time in our ravine. Adrenaline surges. Adventures. Discoveries. I broke my leg down there one night (don’t ask!). I have had many harrowing near misses as I traversed the cliffs and deer runs. We have seen many “Wayfarin’ Strangers” set up lodgings for short periods of time. We have had the ravine reveal, then belch a brand new, stolen motorcycle from it’s depths. I have even saved my beautiful Wolfhound from drowning in the frigid waters of Spring runoff, and then he, in turn, had to save me…
Though the footsteps we have made have vanished over time, the memories of them are still imprinted in my heart.
I am getting older now. Some of the trees are still standing. Old friends. There are new ones shooting up everywhere. The beavers will be patient as they pass by – waiting for them to grow. I share a camaraderie with my husband as we go looking together for something to put into our cameras. We are never disappointed with what the ravine chooses to share with us.
We revel in it’s beauty and it’s familiarity.
I love our ravine…