Since our urban home is hemmed in tightly with our kind neighbors, this country girl at heart loves to find wide open spaces for her children to roam and run through, discover and dig in and most of all, imagine. Growing up, I had seemingly endless land to explore and time to make believe all sort of scenarios. In any direction from my childhood home were mostly empty pastures and woods of mostly pines. It didn't take me long to figure out I was allergic to poison ivy and it seemed to reach up and grab me often. I remember well the crunch of pine straw beneath my feet and the distinct smell of the pine trees. My preference of going barefoot eventually changed after stepping on a few too many pinecones hidden beneath the straw.
My friend, Jessica, ended my search by sharing with me the perfect "expanse" a couple of months ago. It is barely 10 minutes from our house. Her girls affectionately named it "Roxaboxen" which is, well, the children's picture book explains it best. (Check it out. Barbara Cooney is the author.) It's perfect with trees, small hills, a little pond, a steep incline for all sorts of fun things and the necessary bugs, dirt and sticks. So, Roxaboxen is where "Sanders and friends" ended our Spring Break and Brighton has the poison ivy to prove it!