Poets logo

Hallowed Ground

Conjuring the Magic in Childhood Memories

By Heidi L. ShepherdPublished 8 months ago 4 min read

When I conjure up my childhood memories, she is there. Her long sun-streaked locks fifthly with play and freedom, wildly loose and hanging down her back, the thin under-slip, a makeshift sundress. I can recall how much she loved this dress-slip, the soft, silky material, the ease with which it allowed for running and climbing, the feeling of the fresh air and the warm sun upon her skin. I can easily recall many of her childhood experiences, for they are stored within my brain in this file labeled memories. When I open this file she is there and I am often left breathless with this intense feeling of freedom, with the childlike unknowing and wonderment of every new feeling, sight, sound, and experience she brings to me as she takes me back behind our childhood home.

Behind our childhood home, in a rough and tumbled neighborhood filled with rough and tumbled kids, she shows me a slanted backyard full of leaves trapped by a chunky wooden fence with one board missing. Just through that rectangular door I see child-sized forts made out of boards, sticks, debris; whatever could be found. These little hidey huts were hidden between the fence and the wild trees that grew separating her and the others from the train tracks. I watch as they line up pennies to be smashed between the wheels and the rails because none of them could ever get anything silver from their parents. I remember the feel of the hearty, healthy sized white and rusty colored rocks heavy in her small tender hands as they were strategically placed in rows atop the rails. The excitement rushes over me as I stand with her in the wild shrubbery and wait, I feel her little heart beat and the squirminess of her longlegs as the rumble draws closer, the rush and the loudness blow over us, for a moment we are one, it is exhilarating. The train never falls and there was never a thought in her little brain about it crushing her if it did, nor did she entertain any thoughts of people actually being on the train.

In this mystical place she was a wild-paced, little being, too young to be afraid, filled to overflowing with curiosity in her developing brain, where no one believed that she saw a blue, bull-headed man way down the line.

We rush as one, when she runs to the opposite side of the tracks; orchards of cherry trees with their flexible low hanging branches, this pink sanctuary where she and the others would climb, and stretch, and lounge as;

Sideways sunbeams

Softly streamed

Subtly through

Sky-filled stems

Surrounding slothful sprites,

With cherry rimmed lips

And fingertips.

Loafing around for hours until the enemy came and cherry battles would ensue.

Suddenly and without warning I hear my mother’s tired, vulnerable voice call my name, that’s funny, I never heard it that way before. All around a cascading dark was emerging, the cool evening air, the hush of a too-early moon replacing the fading-away sun, and quiet footfalls sneaking back through the fence past backyards and into our homes.

A young mom in this next memory as I stand behind my childhood home, in a run down neighborhood oozing with poverty, a slime-filled, muddy, muck of a swamp ferments within the broken and ghost pieces of a once constructed fence. Splashes of sparse shrubbery line the fence, where forts used to hide. Opposite the tracks, where the sweet, gentle branches of the cherry trees cradled our innocent, little bodies in the heat and in the rain, where we ran through blossom covered paths and created gently, falling pink snow--now no more than more sparse shrubbery and more run down homes and vacant fields, overgrown grasses.

Wantonly wanting

Whimsical whispers

Whirl wishes

Warmly wondering

Where we went,

Our cherry rimmed lips

And fingertips

This place where children’s laughter, and screams, and sounds of them chucking rocks echoed until dusk, this place once the perfect environment where childhood magic hung in the air, twinkled within our dream-filled eyes, flew from our small, tender hands as butterflies and dragonflies, and flourished in every stumbling step of our feet--now quiet, stifled.

Behind my childhood home there are no more children. The tracks are rusty and shiny with wear; they seem thinner, weaker, imprisoned here amongst the small, dirty, insignificant rocks.

Why am I bothered by the change in the graceful grasses that played along the tracks? Why do the tiny scattered remnants of the bulky, white rocks ache my innermost core? Why does it feel like the brown-tarnished rails are weeping?

Behind my childhood home no children play just ghosts of yesterday and ruddy ruminants of memories left behind. No magic.

Is it a yearning for unrestrained freedom in flights of fantasy, for some reminder of our imagined world of enchanted bliss where bad things only happened in the movies and in our sleeping dreams?

I stand in the gently, misting sprinkles and wonder, “does this place remember me, do the soles of my feet, even within these shoes, feel familiar to this hallowed ground? Do the tracks whisper our names that were shouted so long ago? Are our giggles and joyful squeals their music? Where are the seeds of our childhood enchantments?”

With a sideways glance, I turn to leave, I swear I can see the blue-headed, bull man…way down the line, behind my childhood home, where possibly plays, just an inkling, of the magic that once raised ruckus here.


About the Creator

Heidi L. Shepherd

I believe in the importance of writing about one's true life experiences. I also find value in the fact that one can teach through fiction. I enjoy writing about topics that evoke emotion, imagination, and adventure. Enjoy!

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.