Every school year, I counted down the days to the beginning of summer break. I was the only time I never had any rules and only a few responsibilities. I was naturally an early riser and every summer day I was up before the summer sun. There were too many places to explore on the farm and I didn’t have enough time during the school year with the homework and chores imposed by my parents. With the long summer days, I could finish my chores before day break and then I could spend the rest of the day outdoors. 

I knew my parents would want me to have a ‘respectable’ career like a doctor or a lawyer, but I only knew I needed a life in the outdoors. Outside and with my own rules and responsibilities. I didn’t want to have to abide by anyone else’s rules and regulations. I knew what I wanted to do with my life, I just needed a plan of how to get there. I had to work out a plan to convince my parents I wasn’t meant to be inside, but suspected they already knew what I wanted and needed. My father just nodded when I left the house just after breakfast with a packed lunch and enough water to last the day.  

The only thing that changed my plans was the fire the devastated the land. The land I grew up on and loved my entire life was burned almost beyond recognition. And I knew it was my mother. My mother who never went outside unless she had too. I knew this was her way of trying to keep me at home. With her. But in reality, it pushed me even farther away. The day I left home and never went back was the day my mother was devastated. If she had only understood, she would never have ended up in jail. 


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