The Grove and the Meadow

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“An Allegorical Tale”
Written by Rick Trottier – RJT Images
It is truly astonishing, the gifts of understanding and blessings of wisdom that are presented to us all through our lives, sometimes in places and in fashions we least expect. Looking back, it is easy to see what insight can be gleaned from those special moments in time, but it takes a lifetime of learning to be able to see with clear eye, even those badly jaded by age and experience.
Like most boys he knew from the time and place wherein he was set, Jack lived in a small house in a quiet suburb outside a small city. In fact, Jack’s home was close enough to the city to bike down to it, as would be the case later in his childhood. But in his earliest formative years, his parents took him for walks in the woods and fields behind his house or let him ride his bike up and down the streets of his corner of town. There were plenty of neighbors nearby, making it feel “civilized”, but abutting their property were small but dense copses of trees mixed with small fields, creating a little patchwork of wilderness a few dozen acres in size. In later years, that wild corner of the neighborhood would seem quite small, but to a little boy, it was a world unto itself. As a toddler, Jack would be led into the shade of those woods and look out with wide eyes at the seemingly endless rows of tree trunks that stretched as far as he could imagine. It was a place that seemed to hold a universe of wonder.
In those days, parents tended to be a bit more trusting of the world outside their doors and the lessons that were taught to little ones were instilled to such a high degree that when some freedom was proffered, foolish and reckless choices and behavior were not terribly commonplace. It was a little different when small groups of boys went off to play in sand pits, along stream sides or in backyards, but when Jack was left to his own devices, roughhousing and rambunctious play gave way to exploring and thoughtful introspection that came of those discoveries. And the glades and thickets beckoned, places where anything could be hiding and secrets long buried or forgotten could be uncovered.
Jack’s first forays were short and within sight of his mother, walking along a disused path that led up onto gentle knolls and down into small swales. The first exciting find came at the end of the old path, an old stone wall rather like the ones at the front of his parents’ property, but somehow more interesting because it was deep in the shadows of the forest and it marked the edge of the unknown. Beyond this boundary was someone else’s land, someone Jack had never met, someone who didn’t even live in the neighborhood. Someone who owned the land and let it lie quietly fallow. So Jack began visiting the stone wall more and more, fascinated to see how it seemed older and rougher than the ones in the front of his parent’s lot. And it was also somehow the boundary between what he knew and what was kept a mystery. Little summertime visits to the stone wall were always fruitful, filled with discoveries of all types that delight boys like sharp rocks that could have been arrow points, snakes and butterflies to be caught and then released, exotic minerals to be studied and identified. But always the land beyond the wall waited, whispered in Jack’s mind and bided its time.
You can read more of this article in our April 2017 issue of ModelsMania
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