It is April, the month where pillows are beds for sunbeams and dogs are reunited with the dandelion patch. I sit on wooden pallets in the backyard and play my gourd banjo while the light of day makes me feel less alone than I felt all winter. I make a promise not to write about weather or birds or oak trees as often as I already do, "that's just small talk" I tell myself. Perhaps the time has come for me to write about belly aches, or how I wish I was canoeing on some great lake, or maybe I shall have conversations with the wolves that live inside of us all.
When I was a little girl, I was afraid of nothing, not even the black dog that howled from across the street. I left my house barefoot and wandered to the mosquito crowded lake to fish for shrimp with my bare hands and feed them to the ducks. I pulled armored weeds from the ground and when they left a stinging red trail on my finger, I'd return home seeking a band aid then back to the earth I went. Nothing could stop me from being joyous in my movements, it was the pure bliss of childhood, the unknowing of wolves and hearts that can break.
I was alive, but I did not care to think about it. I only knew my hands were able and my lungs were working so I could breathe in the pollen, and I was grateful it never made me sneeze. I knew kids who had allergies and it made adventures by the lake or dandelion patch impossible for them. I was a girl, but I did not care to think about it. I only knew I peed sitting down and my hair was longer than my brothers. I wasn't good at math, but I did not care to think about it. I only knew I liked words more than numbers and I didn't need math to catch my hand on thorns from the blueberry bush or to watch ladybugs climb blades of grass.
I lived each day with curiosity the size of a world. I was myself being myself, wide eyed and bushy tailed like a rabbit hopping into the field of April sunshine. I never once thought I was wrong or out of the ordinary, I was just being me. There was no loneliness, no teeth being clenched by imaginary wolves, no letters to attend to and no fields of belly butterflies to keep you from becoming the person you have wanted to be. It was life and it was bountiful. I knew happiness the way scientists know the body of a bird.
April brings memories of a happy childhood: the lake, the dog, my brother making castles out of sticks, myself being myself, unafraid, unapologetic, weird and wonderful, blueberry bushes and the sweetest fruit of freedom. If only I could always see the world the same way I saw it when I was young, but I promise to keep trying by breathing in the pollen and by being glad it doesn't make me sneeze.