Blackberry Stains and Dreams

watchingThere’s a sense of wonder in youth I miss.  I don’t remember exactly when it went away, but it wasn’t that long  ago for me.  Sometimes, the loss of that dreamy nature feels like the loss of a best friend. 

So, I’ve been trying to rediscover her.  😉

I was always a fanciful kid who thought about everything way to much.  The kind who lived in her head, played out ultra dramatic scenarios and never went anywhere without at least two books in hand.  

We lived in the Ozark Mountains for about 2 1/2 years around the time I discovered adult books.  I’m not talking porn (for those of you who snickered) I’m talking beyond Judy Blume. (And I want to profusely thank her for helping me keep my sanity as a kid who was always lost in deep thought-one who never truly fit in.)

But there wasn’t much to do in those mountains and since I couldn’t drive, I had to occupy myself.  We didn’t have cable and the television chanels we did get left a lot to be desired. 

Honestly, while the period there wasn’t the best and my family went through a seriously rough time, I do have some fond summer memories of time spent kicking back and dreaming of the future.  I’d pack a lunch, snag a couple of books and I ALWAYS had this cassette tape player then.  I’d have some mix tape made from hours in front of a radio where I’d hit record whenever a good song came on.  I usually didn’t have the first note or two, but it was good enough.  Getting batteries was the hard part then.  

So, armed with my food, music and books, I’d find a path into the deepest part of the woods and I’d disappear in there for hours.  Some neighbors had started a house far in the trees and abandoned the project, so there was a great clearing complete with sun.  It wasn’t too far from a bunch of blackberry bushes, so I’d pick berries and happily finger-stain pages for hours.  I’d lie on my back and watch the play of light through the leaves and create stories in my head. 

Romantic and very, very dramatic stories.

Sometimes, I crave that sort of time.  When there aren’t worries and a million and one tasks.  When you can lie on your back and eat unwashed berries and not care about the tiny bits of grit that crunch in your teeth. When the future seemed vast and full of possibility. 

So, to shake off recent disappointments and a difficult winter, I decided to reacquaint myself with the outdoors.  I have a beautiful property full of trees and fescue grass, so I spent hours weeding the flowerbeds in the backyard on Sunday.  I washed all the outside furniture and created a place to work.  I plan to fill in the beds and pots with flowers this weekend.  And, until Oklahoma turns into the unbearable sauna of summer, I plan to write out there.  And I have been.  This time, I don’t have a tape recorder–I actually have speakers mounted outside, so I’ve been playing music and propping up my bare feet. I’ve taken breaks to watch the play of light through the leaves.  And…I’ve been thinking about finding some blackberries.  

See if I can trap that younger, dreamier me and keep her around longer this time. Maybe stain the pages of my own work. 🙂

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About Rinda Elliott

Writer.I love unusual stories and credit growing up in a family of curious life-lovers who moved all over the country. Books and movies full of fantasy, science fiction and romance kept us amused, especially in some of the stranger places. For years, I tried to separate my darker side with my humorous and romantic one. I published short fiction, but things really started happening when I gave in and mixed it up. When not lost in fiction, I love making wine, collecting music, gaming and spending time with my husband and two children. I’m represented by Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Agency.
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5 Responses to Blackberry Stains and Dreams

  1. Jessa Slade says:

    Sorry to hear about the disappointments, but with your Deadline Dames posse around you, you must have great support. Here’s to wonder and blackberries and the urge to write. They all leave lasting stains.

  2. relliott4 says:

    I do–I’m very lucky when it comes to support. Yes, here’s to lasting stains.

  3. Jen says:

    Oh, what an awesome post. I did these SAME things, minus the blackberries. Made tapes on the radio, disappeared into the woods behind our house for hours and made up wild stories in my head. Good times.

  4. Every week in the summer as a kid, my sister and I would take the bus to the downtown library and check out armloads of books. When we’d get home, I’d fix a sandwich and Kool-aid and take the books outside. I’d stretch out on a blanket to read all day long, smelling the scent of honeysuckle and escaping into all kinds of worlds, from Anne of Green Gables to all the OZ books and later Jane Austen and Peyton Place. Books were my life… and still are. More responsibilites though and not so many hours to spend reading.

  5. That little girl is still inside you, hiding behind all the worries and cares and responsibilities. Once you invite her to take the reins, she’ll remind you how to play.

    Funny, how we forget to nourish the child inside us. Thanks for posting this, Rinda. We all needed this reminder.

    ~Sara

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