I walked passed that field nearly every day. It was a wild patch of land surrounded by growing housing developments, apartment complexes, and an ugly mint green retirement home. I often wondered what kind of magic inhabited the land to cause it to go unclaimed for so long.
For months on end it would go untended, growing thick with wild flowers, weeds, and grass as tall as my waist. I would stare over the verdant plot and imagine how the whole area had once been like it; wild and free. It filled me with a sort of longing.
When the wind blew strong enough it was as looking at an ocean filled with gentle cresting waves, beckoning you to play in its waters. I cut through that field many times on my way home. I would run at top speeds unable to resist its calling while at the same time terrified of what might be coiled just beneath the earth waiting to strike.
Something about the field reminded me of the old role-playing games I’d play for hours on end; Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, and the like. Running through the field filled me with both thrill and terror. I envisioned myself a sword wielding, magic filled hero off to face a dragon and save the world.
Often, that as I ran through its thick brush, I’d wish to be transported into another world. One filled with magic and monsters. One that needed a hero; that needed me.
When I left the presence of the field I’d have to face the reality of school, church, and home. In those places I was not a hero. I was kid facing monsters without the aid of sword or sorcery. I, so I was taught to believe, had no power.
In real life I played the role of a kid with low self esteem and a sincere death wish. Some of my monsters reminded me that my disappearance would go unnoticed if I stepped out of line or crossed them.
I would visit that field as often as I did my books and my games. It provided a treacherous portal to escapism.
I recently learned the field has been paved over. Sitting in its place is a gas station and a shopping complex. Though the field has been destroyed its wild magic has not. It lives in me. I took it with me when I left that town a “dark artistic type with hurt feelings” -to borrow from Cory Bruce’s lounge hop song, “Hanford.”
I have grown as that field would have, had it been left alone, wild and free. Full of magic and power over those things (and people) which once tried to contain me. I’m not sure why my thoughts have hovered over this field for nearly a week. Something in the air I suppose. Nevertheless I am grateful to it.