My Field of Dreams

Roone AcreeBy Roone AcreeOctober 20, 20225 Minutes

Some childhood memories fade in my mind these days. I try to remember details of my boyhood home, but they’ve become hazy like an old, faded photo left out in the sun. The laughter and tears my family and I shared still hold a vivid place in my heart, but the house itself has lost its form. It’s hard to recall details of the rooms or some of the shapes and shadows of the past.

But my backyard, now … I remember my backyard. The last time I romped through its acreage was when I was ten years old, but I still see the field where I played, still hear the cicadas chirping in the tall trees, still see the specks of firefly light flicker and dance on a warm, summer’s evening.

I remember how big it was, the size of a small cornfield or better. We had a few gangly apple trees and honeysuckle bushes growing here and there. The grass, which was lush in springtime, was always worn bare in summer by the endless trampling of ragged little shoes and a collie mix who loved to chase birds and squirrels.

But it was perfect, maybe even paradise, for a kid like me. From the time my sister and I woke up on a summer’s morning, we were out in it, exploring an Alaskan frontier in our minds or creating a medieval kingdom. My mother would bring us goodies when we got weary, especially if it was afternoon and hotter than the hinges of Hades. Usually, she’d have some popsicles or the best homemade cookies in the world. My grandmother, if it was the weekend, sometimes brought us ice-cold watermelon, provided we behaved and didn’t spit seeds in each other’s hair.

My backyard was always carefree, as if real life stopped at the backscreen door. The house was where we did homework or scrubbed dishes or listened to grownups gossip about women in town who got their hair color from a bottle. But the backyard was different. It was an escape … a refuge. A place where we could spend hours just being ourselves. Even if something was bothering us, it all disappeared as soon as we went outside and let our imaginations go.

And oh, the scents I remember. Even now, I can smell the freshly cut grass mixing in the wind with the sweet smell of honeysuckle and onion. It used to make my dog sneeze. After dinner, we’d grab mason jars and run through the field catching fireflies, which was magic to us kids. We’d chase down as many critters as we could, then set them free on a wafting breeze, hoping someday to recapture the glittering flecks of light in a dream or well-whispered prayer.

I don’t see many kids play in their backyards anymore the way we used to. I guess children now days have other ways to grab and keep their attention. I see them on devices or playing video games, and it seems to occupy their time. But to me, it doesn’t compare to playing in your own backyard. Our imagination is a gift from God, and it cannot reach its potential unless we give it some place to live.

Even now, I have the urge to run and play and maybe catch a few fireflies in a jar. I may not be as agile and carefree as I once was, but I can still hope and imagine. God is drawing me closer to His heart and leading me to an even more wonderful field of dreams – full of His presence, full of His peace, and full of a new love of life that’s joyful and unafraid.