I am not a morning person. Let’s be clear on that point before I continue: I am not a morning person.
The past two days, I have been awake before the sun even really fills my porch with light. Long before the noise of the day begins I have had time to just sit and soak in the quiet. I like this time, before my mind starts racing, before the anxiety and stress of grown up life catch back up.
The neighbors’ AC kicked on, breaking the quiet, noises of the day have begun, the backup alarm on the trash trucks can be heard for miles, construction noises are getting started, I can hear the men talking in Russian as they get out their equipment.
Up here in my tree fort? I’m safe. And if I close my eyes, I can almost feel my past sanctuaries…
It reminds me of the ancient oak tree out in the pasture, I can almost hear the sounds of grazing sheep and the occasional snort and mane shake of my horse. The grass is soft around me, the cars on the freeway a distant sound. Our thoroughbred, Jake calls from the other pasture, unsure of life without his pain horse friend. With a deep breath I can smell the nearby creeks, feel the coolness that comes from the large irrigated pastures. This is home, my sanctuary, my safe place. I am 15 again.
I can almost smell the hay, the dust, the warm ripe grapes nearby. The hay tickling my skin, poking at my jeans, messing up my hair. From the small room I can smell the faint odor of old books, their beautiful worlds of adventure locked away in boxes never unpacked. It’s summer and the sticky sweet from the plum tree wafts in through the small door, but I’m in my hay bale hideout, watching the horses in their house, tails swishing now and then, ears moving to sounds that escape mine. This is my hideout, my safe place, I’m 10.
Warm cement beneath my back, best friend by my side, furry tailless dog flopped down nearby. Stars overhead we invent constellations, we giggle, we make box cars and waring pentagons. Our imaginary adventures, our stories, our ridiculous dance routines in the garage. The time we locked ourselves out of the house in the middle of the night and swore a murderer was being chased through nearby yards and probably to ours next! I was 11, full of wonder, adventure, and sharing it all with my best friend.
These were my sanctuaries as a child, the happy, comforting memories I stillremember fondly and so vividly I can smell the hay, hear the horses, and feel the warm scratchy cement beneath my back. I have some new memories now that I cherish just as deeply, but I will never forget those places, or those sweet memories.