As a kid in the late 70’s,and with an alcoholic father,I could come and go as I pleased.We didn’t have to worry about anyone trying to kidnap us,or harm us.These were the days ,when as a boy,I would explore the woods across the street from my house.My friends and I would climb trees,play in the creek,set up targets for our BB guns,build a clubhouse,etc..
On this particular summer, day things didn’t go so well.It was a beautiful day;there was a nice breeze blowing and not a cloud in the sky;one of those days that you wish would last forever.We were working on our club house,making notches in the trees that we had cut down with an ax that someone had “borrowed”from his father.The club house we were building was more like a log cabin.It was pretty nice considering we were just kids with no tools.David,who was my best friend at the time,made a suggestion that we st op working on the club house and go exploring.This was the beginning of a scary journey,but adventurous.
We set out on a journey that would take us deep into the woods,a long way from home,from the comfort and safety of our club house;a place we knew very well,for the unknown.As we hiked through the woods we did all the things that boys of 9 to 10 years old do.We climbed the tallest tree we could find,daring each other to go farther.We came along the creek,which was deep in some spots,so we took a dip.As we were swimming we would look for salamanders in the shallow spots,and even found a snake.We could tell it was not poisonous,but it was fun watching it strike at us when one of the guys poked a stick at it.
In the meantime,we were getting further from home and very lost.We were having such a good time,we didn’t realize this until someone in our group said so.It was Tommy who spoke up and said,”Does anybody know where we are?”and I said,”No I don’t!”.This was when the fear set in.We had been in these woods many times,but never this far in.Now,in a group of kids there’s always one who is skiddish,the week one,and his name was John.He started crying,saying,”we’re lost and we’re never going to find our way home”.This caused a panic in the group,and everyone of us,for a moment,considered this possibility.
I was the one who shined at this moment and took control;an unforgettable moment in my life.I told everybody not to panic and we will find our way home.I started to retrace our steps,remember the way we had hiked.By some inner compass,GOD,or just a good sense of direction,I led us out of those woods that day.I admit I was scared at times,but I managed to stay calm.We survived our ordeal that day and never went too far into the woods again.This I consider an accomplishment,one I have often thought about over the years.In a way it keeps me grounded in scary situations.