So, I’m five.
I am on our porch, my feet resting on the top step, my arms wrapped around our dog.
The image is on our deck.
I’m five, it is the summer of 2006, and although clouds scatter the sky, it is still very warm out.
I’m wearing my favourite jumper, the one that is a dark pink and green plaid, and my feet are bare. One strap of the dress slides off my shoulder. My curly sun bleached hair skims my shoulders and I appear to be contemplating whether or not I should be letting someone take a picture of me. Our dog lies next to me, her eyes turned away from the camera while my arms wrap around her neck.
The smell of summer surrounds me and my dog, the sweet scent of petunias from our garden, the musty leaves, soggy from the recent rainfall. It is slightly breezy where I am sitting, yet I don’t seem to notice the chill.
We had just arrived back from the wilderness camp where my mom worked for a few months each summer. All summer long we lived in a small log cabin, its cracks filled with moss to keep the bugs from coming inside. At night I would listen to the water trickling down the nearby creek and then plunging into the spring below. In the day I would pick blueberries, stuffing them in my mouth until it, too, resembled an oversized berry.
Almost every weekend we would spend hiking over the tundra, or me, rather, bouncing over all of the tussocks that made the perfect obstacle course. Many times we saw mother bears with their cubs who played tug of war with anything from dried up vegetation to squirrel carcasses. I had gotten so used to roaming around in the shadow of the mountains for the entire summer that it was kind of a shock to return to our hometown.
* * *
I glance at the picture of myself from so long ago. That moment happened ten years ago, yet I remember it as if it could have been yesterday. I remember sitting down on the top step, calling my dog to come lie next to me. I remember tentatively smiling at the camera from my perch, and I remember the click of the camera, capturing that moment in time forevermore.