Monday, August 6, 2012

Hidden


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When you were a child, did you have a special hideout in your house, your backyard or somewhere in your neighborhood?  A place nobody but you knew about? A place safe from bullies, parents, pesky siblings, disloyal friends?

I had several of these places. The first one I remember is Wisterialand.  During my childhood we lived in a large colonial-style house in Washington, D.C.  My bedroom was built over the kitchen and over the kitchen porch was a roof lavishly covered by a wisteria vine. In spring an explosion of purple clusters sent their intoxicating perfume into the air. I was captivated and so were the bees -- thousands of them swarming over the blooms.

It was because of the bees that no one expected me to venture out onto the roof. What they didn't know though  was that the bees and I were entirely compatible. They never stung me and I never, for a moment, feared they would. Their business was to harvest the sweet nectar of the wisteria; mine was to sit quietly leaning my back against the outside wall of my bedroom, concealed from view both from inside and out. I would close my eyes and inhale deeply, filling my lungs with the blossom-infused air and my ears with the low-pitched hum of the bees.

Sometimes I would think about flying, taking off from the roof, rising on the updraughts over the roofs of neighboring houses, soaring ever higher, my face caressed every now and then by fragments of  cirrus clouds.

Or I would imagine myself the same size as a bee, perhaps even disguised as a bee, another long-term denizen of Wisterialand. My parents would search for me in vain and the police, whom they would eventually call in, would fare no better. I did not think about what would happen when autumn came, followed by winter.  I was a child and winter was about as far into the distant future as adulthood or old age.

The only thing imaginable past spring was summer and then I would leave the city and go either to our farm in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia or else to Aunt Elizabeth's cottage on the Maine coast.

In both those places I had several hideouts.

I am an old woman now and still a product of my childhood obsession with hiding places. It has occurred to me that Wisterialand represents both my need for safety and my craving for adventure. Daring to climb out on the roof and remain there surrounded by bees is the adventurous part.  Being hidden from those I wish to avoid is, of course, the safety-seeking aspect.

Even now, wherever I happen to be, my eyes will naturally seek out hiding places:  the hollow trunk of a tree, a shallow cave in a rocky ledge, a  small opening in a clump of bushes, an abandoned house or barn, a narrow space between two buildings...

In harboring two seemingly conflicting impulses I am, I suppose, no different from most other animals. My summons, their summons, is simply this: go out into the world prepared to hide.




28 comments:

  1. breathtaking and precision summons..i suppose we do hide in our blogs yet breathtaking visible..love all of this

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    1. Hide in our blogs? Yes, I'm sure that's true.

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  2. When I was a teen, I had my own room to hide out in...no bees!
    I admire your bravery.

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    1. Bravery or stupidity? I had my own room, too. I feel sorry for teenagers who have to share.

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  3. Every kid needs a place to "hide away" and dream the dreams of the future.

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    1. I guess the impulse to hide, especially when you are a child, is universal.

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  4. I was one to find my own place to be with me. It was usually a closet, which my mother allowed me to clear out and move into or some other little spot to call mine. I created so many stories there...my princess and prince tales, my wicked neighbor tales, my animal tales...so many animal tales!

    Very well done.

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    1. Wow! Do you remember any of the stories you created? I'm especially intrigued by the wicked neighbor tales.

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  5. My hiding place wasn't hidden, but it was mine. My parents had a camping trailer that was on our driveway for several years. I found carpet samples for the concrete and screens and other things for walls and would crawl underneath the camper for hours at a time. It wasn't too adventurous - I would have rather been camping - but they knew where I was, and I still remember it as a good place, as mine. I would have been too afraid of the bees.

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    1. Your hiding place sounds like fun, especially as you got to decorate it yourself.

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  7. Beautiful blog! Your descriptions were breathtaking and your childhood hiding places sound amazing!

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  8. What a beautiful memory. I think we all had our hiding places as a child and in our own ways still do. Very nice story.

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    1. Thank you. I guess there's a certain satisfaction is being safely hidden that's universal.

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  9. I could just imagine the smell of those wisteria blossoms. What a lovely place to be. If only the bees weren't there too. I would have been terrified!! Your descriptions were so good I felt like I was out there on the roof with you!

    Kathy
    http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

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  10. Thanks. If you'd been out on the roof with me, the bees would have left you alone too.

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  11. Hiding places... yes, I still seek them out. I find that I am constantly needing refuge to recharge.

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    1. Without a refuge of some sort life, for many of us, life would become intolerable.

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  12. I would have loved Wisterialand! I liked to snuggle up in my big canopy bed and I LOVED to perch high in the big old maple at the far end of our property. Like you, I still like having a little cubby of a space to squirrel away in.

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    1. Thanks. Trees are a great refuge and I took advantage of those also. There was a wonderful old apple tree in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, very climbable. Maples are great too.

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  13. I've sought to hide most of my life, only in my writing do I allow myself to be seen. Excellent write.

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    1. Thanks. I guess writers, in particular, are inveterate hiders.

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  14. My bedroom was always my getaway....I also still seek private 'boeing's places! Great post

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  15. Wisterialand creeps me out! Haahaha! I'm so sorry! How lovely it would be but for those bees! I'm a scaredy pants when it comes to bugs.

    Reading this took me to my childhood to the days of wanting a private place. I'd sneak them also. A place where I could live in my dreams. Remember "The Secret Garden"? Loved that book...

    Today, I steal away to my Mom Cave. :). Loved this entry!

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    1. Yes, I do remember The Secret Garden. It was my favorite book as a child. I hope there's a tiny corner of the Mom Cave where you can hide for awhile and recharge.

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