i recently had the pleasure of taking some photos of a childhood friend of mine and her budding family. several of the shots we took were around where i grew up as a child and spent many, many, many hours outside playing - until my mama called me home to take a bath and go to bed. this particular shot here of my friend's daughter below just flooded my mind with what it was like as a child growing up around there. rural nc, surrounded by tractors, tobacco farms. where you could actually hear the crickets and see the stars - maybe the occasional buzz of a dirt bike or a four wheeler.
it's funny how different it seemed. even though i've only been gone from this place for about 10 years, it all seemed so ... i don't know what. funny that i didn't revert back to high school memories, but instead, i found myself remembering bike rides and countless walks down that long dirt road when i was in elementary school. when home meant meals, homework, bath time, and sleep. otherwise, it seems to me now at least, that i was always outside.
one year for christmas, i got a bike that i would give anything to still have now. it was burgundy, and it didn't have anything but pedals. no gears, changing speeds or hand breaks. Just stop and go pedals like when you learn to ride a bike when you're five. tragically, she got run over when i left her behind somebody's car while selling stupid wrapping paper for some fund raiser at school. it was like losing a best friend.
evenings on the long dirt road, and the dead end road that it ran into smelled like grass, and tobacco, and there was nothing sweeter than starting at the top of the hill, flying down on your bike, no hands, with the irrigation from the tobacco fields spraying you as you rode by. tan skin, chipped toe nail polish, flip flops. hair in a ponytail or any manner to keep it out of your face, and who ever even heard of make up? i could be gone for hours on end, and my mama never worried. all of the neighbors on that road knew who i was and who to call if something happened. the night we were taking the pictures, i smiled when i remembered that my friend's mom had a bell outside, that you rung with a rope. it was her "it's time to come hooome" bell for her kids. my mama would just yell, "laura beeeeeeeeeth". or, maybe she had to go up town to run an errand for my granddaddy's business, and she would just track my brother and me down on her car and tell us to hop in, just leaving our bikes wherever they were, we could come back later to get em.
crazy to imagine a time when i worried, but not over anything that mattered. not over bills, and diabetes, and grown up yuckies. but then again, i will probably look back twenty years from now and think this was the time when i was worryin over things that don't matter, and that weren't a big deal after all.