The Forest (right there, in the middle of town)

February 3, 2013 at 8:15 am (Memoir) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I grew up in a small town. It was four blocks wide and five blocks long and there was a forest there. There was a forest there, right there, within the city limits and it was magical. In the middle of the forest, the forest, that was right there, within the city limits was a enchanting bright white gazebo. In that bright white gazebo, in that forest, right there in the middle of town, on quiet summer Saturdays you could find me – usually lost deep, deep within the other world of a book or two or three.

Summer Woods

It was magic that forest. Or have I mentioned that already? And honestly it wasn’t in the middle of town, it was right on the edge next to the highway that went everywhere I yearned to go. All the real places I yearned to explore were there just beyond that highway. All the unreal places, the imaginary places, were just beyond that gazebo trapped in my mind fueled and mapped out within books.

That forest was just kitty corner from the elementary schools and at the end of church row. It was called church row because three out of our five churches were along that street. The United Church, the Lutheran Church and the Catholic Church. Next to the Catholic Church was the Catholic Manse, where the priest lived, and next to the manse was the forest, my magical forest.


The Elementary schools and playground were kitty corner from the forest and during the school day we were not allowed to leave the school playground. The forest’s siren call was hard to resist. There were two elementary schools, one building was for Kindergarten, grades 1 & 2; the other school held grades 3 & 4, after that you moved up to the High School building that was also split in two: grades 5, 6, 7, 8 at the back end and 9 – 12 at the front end (there was a door between to separate us). It was the lower school that was closest to the forest.

I could look out the window all during Kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 2 and see the forest. Imagine the forest. Throughout, all my school years, I always tried to finesse a window seat. Window seats were best for escaping the dull boredom of the classroom, for watching the world and daydreaming the time away. I didn’t want to be in the classroom. I wanted to be in my magical, enchanted forest. I wanted to live in that gazebo with nothing to do but read book after book after book!


Just before school ended for the Summer, if we were lucky, we would get to spend an afternoon exploring the forest. Here was where we collected leaves that would later be ironed between two pieces of wax paper and labelled. Here was where we discussed wildlife and identified birds. The robins liked the forest too. Here we ran wild playing tag and statues. Statues is kinda like tag expect you freeze when you are touched.

Here we had a treasure hunt!

What a treasure hunt it was. At the school, we were split into groups and given maps. We were also given clues to decipher.

Clues like:

Look where “you can swing high in the sky.”
Round and round this circle goes.
Here there is a lot of hard wood that give us leaves.
Here the purple Lilacs grow.
This little building is bright and white.
The treasure will not be found underground.

Can you figure out where the treasure hunt took us?

To the bright white gazebo, of course, in the middle of the forest, the forest, that was right there, within the city limits, beside the highway that went everywhere.

Tree & Sky

The forest that was my favourite place. That forest where I escaped my life to read in the gazebo.

How I still long for a gazebo of my own!

I’ve given up on the highway that goes everywhere. I’ve given up on those impossible, imaginary maps. I lost the forest.

Where did it go? My forest.

Sky & Path

It seems inaccurate to say that I lost my forest, though that is what happened.

I went away. I grew up and went away to the city. I followed the highway out of there and when I came back, my forest was gone.

They sold it. I don’t even know who owned it but they sold it and divided it into lots.

The richest man in town built his new house where my forest and gazebo used to me. The forest gone and divided up into three lots.

I want my forest back, that forest that was at the edge of town beside the highway that went everywhere. I want to sit in that bright white gazebo and dream enormous impossible dreams.

I want my forest back!

This post was inspired by this Plinky prompt.



  1. Did My Train of Thought Run Off The Rails? | Solitary Spinster said,

    […] childhood when I too was enchanted by the possibilities of magical creatures. I would wonder the forest in the middle of town and contemplate what I would do if I ran into an unicorn, or came across a Pegasus or was captured […]

  2. Grass Close-up | Solitary Spinster said,

    […] was devoted to reading because reading kept my sane. I would read outdoors then. There was a small forest right in the middle of town, beside the Catholic manse, with a gazebo perfect for reading. They tore the forest down to build […]

  3. Coveting Trolls | Solitary Spinster said,

    […] could go exploring at the local graveyards or go sit and daydream in the gazebo at the forest just inside of the town […]

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