I’m riding my Mongoose BMX bike through dirt trails with friends less than a mile from my house and I’m taking jumps off of mounded dirt around Western redcedar and Douglas fir stumps. My backpack contains M-80 firecrackers and matches.
We proceed to “blow shit up” for the afternoon and have tons of fun.
Eighty Acres echoes with our booms and I hear others in the distance, muffled by the understory.
I turn my bike towards home, and the hem of my jeans gets caught in the chain and I wipe out into the dirt.
I have scratches and I’m bruised. I pedal home slowly and wipe the dirt and tears from my face.
“This place, it’s like Disneyland. It’s not real.”
I’m in Munich being driven around on a tour bus, and our guide is providing us some local color. We drive past large, grassy mounds that we are told conceal heaps of brick and debris from World War II that were pushed to the edge of town to make way for the seemingly perfect Bavarian village-city we’ve been viewing.
“It may look hundreds of years old, but it’s less than forty. The city you see today is a fantasy compared to what it used to be.”
I’m walking through second growth forest about to become a housing development in Thrasher’s Corner with a woman I’ll divorce in a few years.
Trees are tagged with bright surveyors tape. I don’t know which are keep and which are cut down. It’s forest quiet, except for the passing traffic. We lament how this will become another subdivision. A man passes us, walking his dog. We say hello and my future ex-wife pets the dog.
A few months later, it’s tract homes cheek by jowl, and almost all the trees are gone.
I report for work at Microsoft as a contractor. I park my car underneath what used to be a forest. I don’t know where to go. I’m lost for days.
Taking a break from work, I walk a nature trail around the Microsoft campus. There are native alder, Western redcedar, vine maple and invasive Himalayan blackberries, Scotch broom, and English ivy along the trail. Emergency kiosks with cameras stand as bright red sentinels every quarter mile or less, watching and waiting for someone to push their emergency buttons.
I’m in Disneyland.