There are boys who are shaped by the geography of a place. These boys know the best apple trees to snack from, the ones to tie homemade swings to, and the tallest trees to climb up to. They inherently understand where to build the best dens and the best berry-picking spots.
These boys might’ve gone ghost hunting with their mates, snuck on private property, and sprinted away from angry, loud farmers, building a sense of camaraderie that becomes a treasured generational wealth.
These boys have had their skin hardened by cold streams; their immune systems boosted by the inland climate. As boys, they have become one with the landscape, their identity set in place. The sounds of the deep country, resonating across ponds and lakes, have attuned their brains. Their voices have been trained to call the dogs back home, their legs stretched to jump fences, their feet strengthened to kick a ball, and their hands primed to work the land or grip a bicycle’s handlebar skipping over tree roots crisscrossing forest trails.
Young boys become young men who look back into a recent past that feels still attainable. They can see their childhood in their children’s football games; recognise a parent figure in the lone silhouette of a stranger. They have kept memories of a woman, captured time and time again in their core memories, standing alone on a country road. Forever standing still with the familiar background they call home.
Extract from ‘Death and Daisies’ by Laura Garcia