The whole place makes me smile. The old swing set that rocks when you swing too high, making a steady thumping sound. The impenetrable mass of leaves, vines and trees ringing the pond, like a wall. The old, soft log that we stare blankly at for so long, waiting. Where the grass is long, when you lose things, they’re gone for good. Where the yards are shared. The mud waiting, quietly, always, hidden under the leaves, for the children too confident and trusting. Cattails growing just out of reach, but always worth the risk. The twenty four hour harmony of frogs, crickets and the intermittent dog. The slide that falls off when you sit on it, and houses a puddle, year round in the divot where we stood on it too many times. The hammock that drops you when you swing too high, with the stain chipping off, and tall grass pokes through where the waiting takes place and tales are told. The slow, constant tree rustling breeze that make a sound like waves in a nearby ocean. The vastness and mystery of the pond. Even the crowds of gnats, when waiting on the hammock, comfy and warm fork up countless memories. Standing on the old log, hunting stealthily. Running up the hill, with good news and being followed, proudly, by the frog catcher. gathering rocks, sand and mud. They become a system. How to find leeches, how to kill them becomes a method. Knowing which trees to climb and which leaves to pick become common knowledge. What every critter needs, and when to let it go. We just know now. I never thought of it that way before, but it’s true. I didn’t know any of this eight years ago. They taught me bravery. I wouldn’t have held a snake or a frog, or a turtle, worm or caterpillar. Not even a rolly-polly. They showed the fun in these creatures. I have learned so much from the kids on Old Cove in the eight years I’ve known them. We have all learned. But little has changed about them.