Growing up in the country, I was forced to use and develop my imagination. Neighbors and friends lived miles apart, so my best friends were imaginary. Linda and I played together for years in the woods, hills, and valleys behind my house.
Areas of the woods were previously named by my older sister. If you entered the woods directly behind my house and hiked down the hill to the stream running between two hills, then crossed the stream over a fallen tree trunk, you would enter Mercury Palace. It was beautiful and magical. Small purple flowers peaked through the moss that covered the forest floor. Light danced through the treetops and sparkled in the stream, then reflected on the leaves that moved with the rhythm of the breeze. This was a land of All Things Good.
But, if you crossed the pasture where my grandfather’s cows grazed and tip toed through the creek behind his house, you would pass the dairy barn and enter a forbidden section of property - Egypt Bottoms! It was most certainly a Land of Death. Animals that died of disease (or whatever) were left in this area to rot or be dragged off by the coyotes. Skulls and various bones littered the landscape. Tall trees heavy with large dark green leaves shadowed the ground and blocked the sun from peeking through. Only a double dare would cause a child to enter the Land of Death.
It was in this compound that my passion for interior design was nurtured. My houses were constructed from the elements of nature that were available to me. Pinestraw was used to mound up into rows for walls. Soft moss carpeted the floors of my houses, while exposed roots served as chairs or headrests. Often I was lucky to come across a treasure. An empty bottle or tin can had been tossed into a ditch would find itself displayed with a purple aster on a large rock where I served Linda a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
I’ve never stopped designing places to nest… for myself and for others. It’s been decades since I’ve been to Mercury Palace…… How I would love to gather Pinestraw once more….