by Amos Smith
When I was growing up in Virginia, there was a large open meadow up the hill from my childhood home. Even though most of the acreage in my neighborhood was well developed, the meadow was left wild. After I climbed over a dilapidated wood fence and made my way through a thick barrier of trees, tall green grass sprang, resembling an overgrown alpine meadow. At night, the sky above the meadow opened into the great expanse. The distinct stars illumined the darkness as though I was far from habitation. In the summer the fireflies added lights to the deep blue.
The meadow gave me the space I needed when my little house and family began to close in. As with all families, sometimes things got claustrophobic. At those times I headed out the back door and started the slow walk toward the meadow. When adolescent insecurities mounted and there was no outlet, I started the slow walk…
After I pried through the wall of trees I would walk several paces then lay back against the thick grass. At first my thoughts raced, as they had throughout the day. Then, slowly my thoughts settled like particles of dirt floating to the bottom of a glass of water. If I stayed there the water became still, all the dirt settled, and the murky water of my mind cleared. Space between thoughts lengthened. My breath slowed. And a homesickness I struggle to articulate softened.
I was only yards from home, yet I had another home akin to silence.