I can’t pretend I’ve ever had a normal life. I was born in a three-room cabin with no running water high in the Colorado Rockies. There was electricity and a wood-stove.
I don’t remember the place well and what I do remember is from a toddler’s eyes.
A main room with a front door towards the road and a back door towards the pump. The wood stove in the middle. A bedroom and a work room. An outhouse, a luxury outhouse with two tiny rooms and two seats in the bench. I have no recollection of how bathing was accomplished.
Folklore has it that the day after I was born my dad decided my mom might want a nap and tucked me inside his coat to go snowshoeing. It was only early October but it is entirely possible there was already plenty of snow on the ground.
I’ve also been told I loved cat food. Unable to yet crawl I managed to repeatedly escape my crib and squirm underneath it to the cat bowls.
Another little legend is that my first words were “grilled cheese!”
There is no question that I was a loved and wanted baby and my parents did the very best they knew how and were able to.
There just wasn’t anything normal or ordinary about it. Who takes a newborn snowshoeing? My dad, that’s who. I was out in the natural world of wonders before I even had a name.
Having been born at home there was no hurry to name me. I came into the world in the dim light of a cozy cabin. Just my parents and a midwife.
I do have a real first name. I just use an initial for writing. I spent a lot of years thinking my name wasn’t right for me. This might be the only post I ever give away what “m” stands for. Melissa. My name is Melissa. It comes from Greek for “honey bee.” Sweet, busy, creative. Liking flowers and hard-working. Capable of stinging but only in the event of sever threat. And now you know where the “bee and the scorpion” tag comes from. I am the bee. It’s also the name of the girl who was left to guard Merlin’s tomb. (Bullfinches Mythology) And I learned a few months back sometimes comes from an Irish name meaning “Christ follower.” How cool is that? But here on WordPress you can call me m and we will never speak of this again.
Before my first birthday we relocated to southwestern Colorado, the little forgotten corner. We returned several times before the cabin was sold. There’s a picture of my brother and I sitting on the step in front of the door. We are perhaps 8 or 9 months and a bit more than 2 years old. I assume my memories of the place are from these later visits, although I don’t remember my brother there at all.
Many of my earliest memories are of being out doors and of my brother. We are 20 months apart. Perhaps it is no surprise that I have carried a life long reverence for the wonders of wilderness and deep bonds of affection for family and a few friends. Toys and television were nearly nonexistent for us. We had presence rather than presents.
I was the baby snuggled inside a warm down jacket at 10,000 feet in the snow.