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My Backyard

Ever since I was young, this has been my backyard even when it wasn’t. My nana and papa lived here before my parents bought the house that came with a magnificent little jungle. This jungle, my backyard, was the engine of my imagination. Spending hours outside with my sister and cousins in this place remains my sweetest childhood memory and the closest time I felt with nature. I used to play out there for hours on end. My backyard officially became mine when I was in third grade, and my grandparents moved to Florida. I vividly remember watching as their car slowly drifted down the driveway into the foggy night that seemed to belong to a movie. As I grew up, I grew with the yard. In the fall, I would roll down the small hill along with the leaves in a haze of deep reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. My inner child would shine through me as I played in that backyard, becoming silly with laughter and joy. With my sister, I would always go out there after school. Even in the winter, when ice would fill the puddle holes in the grass, we would go outside and pretend to skate on the most respectable patches of ice we could find. Throughout the seasons, my backyard was my sanctuary, my source of freedom and complete exhilaration.

Things have changed. My backyard is the same, yet it is not. I do not see the same wonder in it as I used to. I have become a foreigner to this place. I feel a sense of loss. As I have grown older, I have grown distant from my backyard, this piece of land seemingly smaller than before. The distance scares me—my relationship with nature and my own backyard has changed and diminished.

Although I feel less belonging, I continue to roam the grass with my eyes. I still admire the beauty of this place and all of its elements. I see the maple tree with its vibrant blood-colored leaves and the pine tree, my gigantic Christmas tree. Along the sides of the grass and then the driveway, patches of dirt are scattered with yellow, blue, and purple flowers. Among the flowers, weeds, and grass are the garden gnomes. Ever since I can remember, these little creatures have been here. Living in my backyard, are these gnomes with their clown-like faces, always looking at me and holding a smile. They have become the characters of the novel which depicts my backyard.

For the first time, I realized that along with growing up, I had lost the ability to see the wonder that I used to. Although this was a sad recognition, it was the truth. At the same time as I had been able to only see the physical features of my backyard, I had seen in myself a changed me. All the imagination that was once enveloped inside this place was gone. I had seen my grown up self for the first time, no longer believing in fairy tales and made up stories. Now all that was left was hope and desire to once again see those memories come to life again. As I pace my backyard, I long for the days when I could thoroughly enjoy spending the entire day outside with nature and all of its aspects—even the insects who chirped, buzzed, and scuttered below and above me that the “grown up” me ran scared from. A somber feeling washed over me as I realized that Peter Pan’s classic line “I won’t grow up” represented my innermost feelings, clashing with the bleak reality that I already had.





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