By Nancy Wilde Sartz Roe

With the changing weather, the golden days of summer give way to brilliant autumn displays and rain drenched shivering coolness. Days grow shorter, and the sunlight casts long horizontal rays amid the lengthening shadows. Now wild brisk winds whip across the open vastness of the field driving rippling waves of grass. Ragged clouds scatter, racing with the wind, as I wander out back. My friend and I travel far today, and Lady Beauty stays at home. Today my boy companion and I hike beyond the field, beyond the far distant end where the trailer and danger dwelt. Sunlight and cloud cover dance in the wind scattering light and dark all over the landscape as we reach our destination.

The expansive gravel pit spreads out distant, open, and high before us. A small shallow rocky stream gurgles brightly as the cold rushing waters carry away sticks, leaves and debris—like small boats speeding to a far port. The brisk rushing waters offer a place to launch new voyages for floating things, a place to stride, jump and balance on large rocks as we ford the waters, a place to slip, immerse and feel the cold and wet seeping deep.

Such “mountains” beckon us from the heights in the gravel pit. But first, we run on the glorious “plains” leaping and garnering speed to take flight as we ascend and climb—scaling over rocks, grasping dirt, loosening rocks that cascade and crash down the hill. We race to see who will be king of the mountain. We scramble to the the top and mount the summit. Now breathless, we shout and laugh, our hair whipping in the darkening sky. For we rule over all that we see as the land spreads out distantly around us. We reign mighty conquerors, kings, and queens as we descend and ascend again and again in our play. My boy child friend and I are free travelers and adventurers today. For the dirt beneath our nails, the rocks, the coursing waters, the cold winds on our hands and cheeks, the changing lights in the autumn sky and the sheer bliss of our “mighty” agile feats have exhilarated us, washed us, and crowned us wild and free.