Memories Of My Childhood Past: 1983I am nine years of age.  My third grade class – the third one I’ve known at this point – is taking a field trip to various scenic locals within busing distance in the Pacific Northwest I’ve been calling home since the December previous.

We are making our collective way down narrow pathways, descending a cliff down to a rocky beach that, as we were told, was a Native American preserve featuring a wide variety of aquatic sea life and stark beauty.

The tide was out, revealing a landscape of rocky shorelines, jagged boulders and mysterious caves carved into the sides of the cliff, eerie doorways to the unknown.

Slowly we descend down the cliff, the trail zigzagging back and forth instead of straight down, for the sole purpose of traversing the steep slope without falling.  The trail is only a couple of feet wide, and at times indiscernible from the dense underbrush that frames the trail.  Below lies jagged boulders, slick with sea spray, natural teeth forever open to welcome anyone foolish enough to slip and fall into its carnivorous wake.

I am nine years of age, and I am following with the group, walking single-file on the trail. We’re halfway down the cliff, and I slip.  I fall.  I’m hanging upside-down, staring into those massive teeth, more than eager to consume another tender meal.

Instead of sliding to my doom, another one of my classmates has hold of my foot.  Time passes slowly.  The school principal rushes over, aids in pulling me back up to my feet.  Standing once more, I look down, shuddering at what could have been my fate, and shutting out the scolding my principal is giving me.  Looking down on those jagged rocks, rocks that would have had a broken body of a nine-year-old boy cradled in its maw, my blood drenching the rocks.

The moment passed, I continue on with the group down to the beach…