I went on one of my walks; you know those walks that you kind of need in a time where you just want to be by yourself? I shut my big oak door with a rounded top and two square windows at the top. I always thought it looked like a face: the windows are the eyes, the doorknocker is the nose and the iron detail made up the wrinkles and shape its face with a straight lined mouth made of black knob screws that I touched too many times when I was growing up, so now they are polished down to a metallic brass color. It is a welcoming door and has opened and closed many times before, yet this prominent click of the lock seemed more finite, like it knows that I need to leave for a little while, just a little. I step down the two concrete stairs onto the hardened, cold ground.
It is the middle of fall. My house is covered in red, yellow, and orange maple leaves. It is contrasting from the deep brown of wood and dark stone that envelops the house fully. The stones make up the lower level, the wood is up on the second going in a horizontal direction along with even pane window glass which you can make out a white piano sitting in the corner and a white couch next to it for the listeners to mingle in admiration. I have always found the contrasting colors of our house a bit ironic. It is very dark on the outside as if to ward off most people from approaching. We never receive many visitors, our neighbors never knock on our door to say hello, and we certainly never get the most trick-or-treaters, it was the dare of all dares to come up to our house and ring the bell to see if anyone answers. I would always string a few firecrackers from the third floor window of my room and make them pop right behind the door where they waited. It was fun for me, not them. I took too much pleasure watching the kids I went to school with who made fun of me in the halls and watch as I did my own loner things and now to see them as subjects trying to win their loyalty back only to be terrorized away into the depths of the unknown that surrounded my nefarious castle in the woods. The inside, however, was the polar opposite: white, everywhere. White couches, white linens, white counters, white cabinets, soft blue pillows, exposed light wooden beams, open window space, a crackling fire place always lit, and the consistent smell of pine along with whatever mom and dad are cooking kitchen or creating in the workshop. Dad and I would make these little glass orbs and fill them with different colors and scents that would emit over time to fill the house and illuminate your senses. He said it was good for thinking. Think of the scent you smelled at the time you learned something and you will remember it forever. It is sort of like flesh memories when you experience touch or affection, and now we made scent memories, it really does work. I studied languages with lilac, I practiced math with cedar, I composed music with cinnamon, I wrote with pine. I think pine is why I like fall and winter so much because I also associate writing with these seasons and the scent of pine is in both. Now that I am older and more appreciative of the odd mechanisms I encountered when growing up, I see why I love the things I do. I love the feeling of cold water on my face in mornings because I jumped into a cold pool each morning for swim practice. I like reading at night because my mom would always invite me to sit in the big window to tell me a story before I went to bed. I like to walk because I would always take walks with my friends down the way to have fun and be a kid for a moment or two. I reverted back to my exploring self when I went for walks and it’s the same effect today.
I need an adventure I need to be child like; as I looked in the mirror this morning I saw my dark circles under my eyes, I looked at the dullness of my skin, and stared back at the longing in my eyes. At this moment I crossed the room looked out my third floor peaked window out into the woods, a perfect day. I grab my journal off my birch white desk with no intention, I put on my darkened jeans with a light gray, wool sweatshirt and brown boots, dragging a comb through my auburn hair, asking myself why I got highlights over the summer, I hate summer. I give up and create a long sideways braid. My freckles are fading more and more each day and I am left with my pale skin, which almost glows like a moonlit night. I pull my sweatshirt past my wrists to cover my triangular scar that is stark white as if it were to yell at me with a searing anger, I never liked it, and it knew of my disappointment. As I walked out into the woods I relished in the way my boots crunched the roughened leaves on the ground. My husky, Rosy, matches with the fall around us with her reddish brown and white fur blending in with the brown tree trunks. I can no longer see the house, the door is no longer watching. Rosy goes ahead, and I take my time to breathe in the air around me: it’s fresh and crisp out here there is nothing to disturb the cleanliness. The next house is about two miles the other way, and most are not out this early in the morning. I see the sky starting to welcome to faint glow of the sun out into the East. There is no definite trail it is more guess and go. I pass the tree where my best friend Rachel, her brothers, and I nailed little pieces of wood into the tree to make a tree house. It was more like a fort for all intensive purposes. We made pine cone bombs and threw them at our little brothers who tried to climb up, and for the other kids who tried to come up and claim the space we would put spikes at the top of certain wood pieces which would send intruders back in full force to the unforgiving ground; only we knew the right way up. I could see the remains of the wooden base and the carvings we made on the trunk. I smile to reminisce and then continue on.
There is something about this wooded maze. It seems to be different each time I visit yet I know it like the back of my hand. It is something about the trees, they seem to stand with an aged bend in their trunks, the way their branches used to extend out straight as if to reach to one another to say hello with a soft embrace. Maybe it’s the river that flows steady with the muffled splashes of little frogs and fish jumping in and out. I like water, the way it is free yet controlled either in a cup or a lock of land. It is free to move as it pleases, yet in its own abilities. I wonder if a lake is jealous of an ocean or vice versa? A lake is limited and an ocean is limitless; would one or the other like more or less control? I think I would envy the ocean and the way it extends from one part of the world to another. I want to extend myself across the world. I want to explore and discover just as much as one would travel across this body of water to reach a destination. Yet here I stand comparing the river to the ocean, how easy it is for me to get directed out here.
Rosy is digging through leaves probably to find a stick she wants me to throw and for her to seek. This is the place for the ultimate game of hide and seek; it is where I can become both the hider and seeker. I may find the most secluded of spaces and discover something waiting to be found. I think I am waiting to be found. I have been on this walk for a while and I do not think I am a seeker today. I am a bit lost. I am blending in with the discombobulation of the forest because I am of the same feeling. I am not sure where I am exactly supposed to be, but I know that I am okay being here. Is this what I came to seek out?
I hear the more prominent sound of cars zooming on the highway a few miles from here. I am starting to notice the morning walkers who take the trails, and I decide to turn around from the prospect of socializing with anyone. I whistle softly for Rosy to come to my side and she hesitantly obeys. As I approach my house all dark and ominous, I settle on a thought: I see the dark colors on the outside and the tremble it has brought to many, yet it is the age and familiarity to the colors around it that makes it just a house in the middle of the woods. A door is just a door, it does not watch, but rather it protects. White is just white, it can tell nothing of the color a family can create. A house is just a house, yet it takes one to make it home. With this I realize that it is okay to just be me, I make who I am, as just does a forest make a forest with all the little things to hide and seek; you never really know what you are going to discover, or if you are not meant to find, yet be found.