The walls were miles high. The stream was a torrent river, and the scar in the land stretched for light-years. Or maybe, I was just four.
This ditch happened to reside in my backyard when I lived in a neighborhood up in the foothills of Littleton, Colorado. Upon moving there, I was not allowed to enter the ditch for any reason, for fear of the deadly venom of the rattlesnakes that prowled the area. Considering how forbidden the ditch was to me at that age, I sure spent a lot of time down inside of it.
It was wonderful, with wild grass that was well over my head at the time, and bugs everywhere. I remember how I used to stare and wonder how things grew so tall. I can also remember the way I could just gawk at a snake hole and wonder how it was made. I later found out that the snakes just steal the holes from other animals.
In those days, my friend David Brown and I had this incredible infatuation with catching grasshoppers and other bugs. We actually spent the entirety of our time outside of school, including recess, imprisoning all sorts of insects in our plastic cages until we were well into the third grade. By this time in life, the ditch was not so much of a condemned place, as a mild annoyance and worry to my parents.
Our fabulous ditch was a haven for mice and other small animals. You couldn't take twenty steps without seeing something scurrying away from you, feeling its demise coming close. The way the stream sounded like pouring water into a cup was so relaxing. So quite obviously, my nature-obsessed friends and I decided a club house was necessary to complete our domination of the ditch. Right behind my house a tree grew from the stream which ran through the ditch, and all its branches reached right up to the top of the ditch, making it the apparent spot for our new hangout.
To my crew's and my dismay, our idea was crushed when we found a recently passed raccoon inside the tree, with maggots and flies galore surrounding...