We grew up in a world where green was the color of fun. I say this because a green lens is what I use to revisit the precious memories I spent playing in my garden from the time I could remember. Three times the size of a soccer field, our garden was our magical wonderland filled with a variety of flowers year round. Here several imaginary playmates manifested and joined us as we created concoctions, constructed make-believe cabins and caught tiny wriggly creatures.
Outside, near my parent’s window, behind the creaky swing, were thick gnarled vines that crept over the cement wall into the neighbor’s yard. Their bottle green leaves created lots of cool shade for us and our tortoises. Some years, the vines stretched up and over the lemon and peach trees, creating a little niche that we crawled into when no one was looking. Here we stored special treasures like smooth stones and fairy stickers. On some occasions the vines became a fort, enabling my little sister and I to be part of Enid Blyton’s famous five on a brave adventure. On other days, one of our mongrel dogs followed us into our fort, and it became the pig from Charlotte’s Web.
We played in the garden during every season. In the periods in which the sun was the hottest and the rain thirsty grass had shriveled into golden yellow, we had grasshopper catching marathons. Tap, tap, tap! The jumping insects hit the top of the empty Cremora tins. At the end of the day, their fate would be in the hands of our Tom cat who always thanked us by rubbing his fluffy back on our dusty legs. My sister and I knew that he loved us, because we often saved him when he was stuck in the tall evergreens near the maid’s quarters.
When the rains finally came during the Christmas seasons, the slugs crept out onto the red brick drive way. We were awed by their reaction to the salt that we poured on them. On days when we didn’t torture the slugs, we teased the millipedes until their hard black bodies curled themselves into knots. The best part was throwing these knots into the chicken pen to see how fast the excited hens could snack on them.
In the winter we loved to go outside to pick the fist sized avocados that had thumped onto the ground. The maid always thought that we were weird for eating our avocados mashed into a juicy green pulp and mixed with spoonfuls of sugar. That and sliced white Lobels bread was my favorite breakfast meal.
When the grass was green, again it was nice to do cartwheels on the freshly cut grass. The smell reminded me of mint toothpaste. The little blades that would be stuck between our toes always found their way into the kitchen floor, much to the maid’s dismay.
I loved it when we would monkey up the two giant mulberry trees that enabled us to peak over the stone wall. During mulberry season in July, we often stained our clothes with crimson juice. Because of the green leaves on these trees, our friends from school agreed to give us silkworms that we kept in a box since they fed on mulberry leaves. Sometimes when we frolicked around the garden, we found green brown chicken poop. That was the only bad thing about our magical world- that and the devious chameleons that blended in with many of the leaves and grass in the garden.
We were never allowed to watch T.V until 4pm on school days. This was okay, as long as we had our garden to play in.
It makes me sad to know that some kids grow up in world of grey concrete, or flashing illusions. In my opinion, every child should grow up in a world of green.