I grew up in a small town, as a kid there was a limited amount of things my friends and I could do. The thing that all of our parents said when we were bored was “go outside and play”. This is something that always annoyed me as a child, why was the only thing fun that we could do was go outside? How fun could it really be if that was our only option? This past weekend I had to go back to this same small town to help my brother with a science project, I dragged my boyfriend with me. Normally we would have left the moment I was finished helping but this weekend we decided to drive through the town. This same town that I use to play in every time I was bored with my friends.
Driving past the school caused me to remember many different events that happened outside simply because a bunch of kids were bored. Behind the school is this really deep ditch, in Craik we call it the drainage ditch because that is where all the water was directed to during the spring to stop the town from flooding. In the spring we were banned from playing there but in the winter it had really deep thick snow. This snow was great from building snow forts, it was really far away from the school so the teachers never came to check on us unless we started screaming. This created a lot of freedom for my class, other classes always seemed to avoid the area but it was our favorite place. In the fall, behind the drainage ditch, a farmer grew wheat. As rural kids we all new if we chewed the wheat enough it would make gum. We would always have to sneak into the field because one of the teachers decided that it was dangerous for us to be back there. At the time I never considered how much of an impact that area would have on me but it created a larger impact on me than I realized. This area was where i learned to make a snow fort, and where I learned how important it was to have trees for protection against the wind on really windy days. If not for this area would I have found interest in gardening and maintaining landscapes which led me to a job working in a greenhouse for several springs. It never occurred to me how much of an impact this area had on me.
When I drove past it this weekend, I was shocked to see that the deep drainage ditch that had once been the location of mine and my friends adventures and fun is now a small space with no trees, or long grass to play in. It shocked me how something that was so untouched for so many years was suddenly gone as if it had never been. I am sure that I have driven past that spot more than a dozen times since moving out of Craik but I never took the time to notice the changes until this weekend. When I asked my family about the change in the scenery, they also did not recall seeing a difference in how it was when I was a kid and how it is now. It just happened. When you take the time to look at your surroundings and experience them rather than just co-exist quietly it becomes apparent how much is really changing.