Backyard Adventures by Brock the Hermit Writer
We are quite fortunate to have a three-acre piece of heaven right next to city property. A small rural town of 2,000 doesn’t have a lot of commotion anyway, but we still enjoy our privacy and peacefulness. All around our home are trees except for a park across the street and one visible neighbor to the north. A virtual haven for young children. A large backyard to explore has the ability to bring forth imaginations of adventure from a young ones mind. I remember being a child myself (faint as it may be) camping in the backyard, thinking it was in Africa and we were on a safari. Thankfully, I have a younger brother — everyone should have one of these!
It’s so much easier to play Bawana the Great Hunter that way, as porters are needed. And I have two more brothers even younger still, they made awfully good prey — but far too cunning! I would have preferred a real gazelle to these two. They could elude the best-aimed, rubber suction cup arrows. But when we finally ‘got one’ we would tie him to the pole and carry him back to camp. We actually didn’t use any rope — he had to drape his arms and legs around the pole and hang on. If the lions attacked (family dogs) we would just let them eat our kill. Whoever was tied to the pole was a goner once the licking started.
Nowadays the kids like to pretend they are some type of Ninja and always fighting a powerful foe. Whatever our imagined adventure, we would never lose a ‘battle’, or never come back from ‘the hunt’ unsuccessful. Our backyard camp was of the makeshift variety; just a bunch of old boards that were lying around, thrown together in a constructive manner that only a ten-year-old apprentice carpenter could conceive. No blueprints could ever be made to reconstruct these one-of-a-kinds. As we got a little older our camps became more elaborate, even airborne — quite the challenge. Building a ground blind for hunting today is by far much easier than one that is up in the trees, just as it was back then. Any old boards that lay around the yard these days seem to get tossed into the fire pit and burned. So my girlfriends kids, three in all, use an old tent of mine as their camp. Also it isn’t a ghastly looking contraption that is unsightly, so mom said it is okay to leave set up.
I was watching our family dog today, a Shepherd / Lab mix pup (ten months old), tearing around the yard with a stick in her mouth. Mind you, no one was around her, the kids were in school, and I was watching out the window. She would dart all over, as if some pretend person was chasing her. Around a few trees and then into the tent. Come ripping out, around the trees, and again back into the tent. This raised my curiosity — was she ‘pretend playing’ the way that we humans do? Just the day before, the kids were in the tent. They would grab at the stick whenever she came charging into the tent. I think all dogs could easily keep us from ever having possession of the stick, especially if they are in their prime. They like to pass by at a gallop, just close enough so you think you might have a chance at the stick if you make a desperate lunge. Then, with the ability of an instant change of direction, they cause you to miss. You are left standing there bewildered and confused, with the same feeling some NFL players got when Barry Sanders or Walter Payton just went by. Once in a while they’ll permit you touch the stick, just so you think you are still in the game. When we were kids we didn’t have any focus on the world outside of our own backyard, except for our imagined adventures. Even today I like to sit in a lawn chair amidst the backyard, drift away and daydream trying to imagine a camping trip, hunting or fishing trip, or any outdoors activity. The serene, peaceful setting helps me, as it did when I was a youngster, conjure up a genuine plan for these and other outdoor adventures. An adventurous nature lives within all of us, to revive it might only take a visit to your backyard, or a walk in a pristine setting. The world around you will slowly disappear and your focus might turn toward adventure.