Wild Side Dreams or the Boyish Heart
~ wonderment & wanderlust ~

Ragged Ridge - North Cascaeds Ken James McLeod

I am that boy who dreams of the wild side and of boyhood days gone past: the baseball fields I use to play ball in (where I could spit freely without adults telling me to quit that) now covered under concrete, and the hand-me-down bicycle I rode to get there...'twas a motorcycle ya know, very fast! Of Old Shep or Old Yeller - the hero dogs of all the boys around, and though they were just imaginary dogs in our minds since they were famous story characters, we believed they could be called home playing a single note on a blade of grass. And we did so often and called their names.

I am that boy who always had a fishing pole in his hand and knew about the trophy fish hiding under the docks at most of the local lakes - - the leviathan the pros couldn't catch. The boy who always tried to catch the most crawdads, too. And I am that boy who hunted carrying a slingshot ready to kill the mighty dragon with, in hopes to rescue the lovely maiden the monster captured and had taken to his lair.

I am the boy who always climbed the highest tree in the woods by the school to impress the girls, and who could show them he could toss the farthest rock down at the lake. And the one who ran the 50 yard dash about as fast as any boy could in the sixth grade...thinking it to be like the running of the Kentucky Derby or like a "wild" stock car race.

I am that boy who always loved the outdoors: lakes and streams, the mountains and woods. The boy who always dreamed of catching tarpon as seen in the Outdoor Life or Field & Stream magazines, and the boy who wanted to climb Mt. Everest but never got there as a man.

I am that boy who grew up to become a man and who found himself a romantic and desirous of women...sometimes wondering why God even created them? And or how did I get myself into this mess...this woman and man thing called love? But then, I am just a man.

I am that man who sees and hears the red-tail hawk crying overhead when all others in a crowd have not the slightest inclination he's flying there above...most with their minds and ears closed to the natural world. I am the guy who whistles back to the birds cries. And I am the man who on occasion wishes he were that hawk too, soaring on great-feathered powerful wings which could take me over all the grand wilderness areas they could muster.

I am that man who as a boy climbed the highest dirt mound or hill in the neighborhood, just for the simple pleasure of view. I am now that man who seeks solace in the mountain wind, where Mother Earth meets the Father Sky.

I am that man who abruptly drops everything and heads for the hills...only if it's just for a simple little trail walk through the woods. I am that man who on occasion finds himself immersed in deep thought about mountains and routes while at work, and who spends his lunch hour pouring over survey maps in the quest for the next truly grand place and next adventure. And here at the house where over in the corner sit my hiking/climbing boots in wait, I gaze upon them dreaming, wondering, "where will they lead me the next time they are laced up?" Most certainly, into the wild side of my boyish heart . . .

KJM

Aug. 1, 2003

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