Now that I have come from my disturbing encounter with Baba Yaga, and spent some time pondering milagros, I am ready for respite. I sink into the rosemary scented bath that Madame Eclectica has prepared for me and allow my thoughts to drift.

I recall spending time as a girl making a secret camp in the windbreak behind our farm. My sister and I cleared away the brush, sweeping and raking to form a trail through the fragrant cedar trees. We harvested rocks from a nearby field to make fire rings, and brought out dishes from the house to be filled with greens and berries that we prepared as “salads.” We spent quite a lot of time out there. My sister and I didn’t often get along, and it was a rare treat to partner with her in any endeavor. It was a secret, shaded world, one that we were sole owners of, until the day we decided that the trail needed an exit, out behind the old pink Chevy that had died and been hauled out to the back acreage. It was now a home to mice, snakes, and wasps,and we gave it a wide berth as we used a handsaw to cut branches from one of the trees. After about an hour or two, we had a large enough opening to ride our bikes through, and could then make a round trip, starting at the driveway, coursing through the paths we had made, out the crude opening, down the lane leading to the tractor shed, and back in. All was right with our world, until Dad came home. He was doing chores when he happened to notice our circuit. He walked back to the treeline and was waiting for us as we made our next pass.
“Pretty neat, huh, Dad?” we said as we rode through the hole in the tree.
Dad looked ready to explode. We hopped off our bikes.
“Why the hell do you think it’s called a WINDBREAK?” he yelled.
We looked at the tree, and noticed its distinct lack of windbreaking capacity, thanks to our busy-beaver sawing job. The hole was about six feet by 8 feet, not bad work for a couple of girls under 12. Frankly, a merit badge was in order.

I don’t remember if we were punished–though it’s likely, but what could he do? The damage was done. It took about ten years for that hole to grow shut, and now the treeline at the north end of my parents’ property is as full and fluffy as it ever was. Whenever my sister and I walk back there, we always look at one another and burst out laughing. Dad can finally laugh about it too.