The Halfway Woods were just across the street from my home. It's leafy canopy seen from my bedroom window endlessly taller than it was in fact due to the steep incline of the earth that marked the half-way point between those of us who lived at the top and those of us who lived at the bottom.
A deep ravine always dark in the coolness of the woods ran just behind the encroaching houses that was our neighborhood. It's banks packed hard from sliding backsides, it's reward a moss bottomed brook that never ran dry. It's far edge reached with the bravery that came from crossing fallen trees one foot in front of the other, the hope to not cross again before the end of the day.
To walk on the many trails that wound their way through the Halfway Woods was to encounter every stage of childhood. From boys on rope swings testing their mettle against each other and girls wanting to prove their equal worth, to teenagers awkwardly come upon, first kisses blushingly hid by turning away.
The Halfway Woods were everything to me. A Maple found with ladder rung branches to climb and a deep V to perch became my place to read for hours and imagine a particular boy one day liking me. I would sometimes glimpse him on the Halfway Path below my tree waiting at the crest for a friend. I prayed my beating heart wouldn't alert him to my presence far above his head.
The Halfway Woods called to me on days I was filled with joy and days I couldn't wait to have end. My special tree was the place that held me when required reading from school said I was no longer a girl. I cried all the tears I could and then rested deeply, a sound below interrupting my resolve.
A familiar sandy head, one long tan arm and one blue jean clad leg swinging carelessly, an open book slowly closed held on a second bent knee. A smile looking up as mine looked down. When I think about the coming of Indian Summer and the beginning of Fall, I think about my days in The Halfway Woods and the sweetness of First Love.
Pattern for personal use only.