A Child in the Woods

In the new issue of Down East I write about my childhood in Scarborough, Maine. My family moved to town with the first real wave of suburbanites. Our house stood at the edge of what had been, mere months earlier, a cornfield. Woods were all around us, and I was fortunate to be able to explore trackless stretches of forestland that wandered down the hill to a fetid salt marsh. Today, Scarborough ranks among Maine's fastest growing communities, and many of my old haunts are now gone, replaced by modern, three story homes. I still feel a deep affection for the town, but whenever I return to my old neighborhood, I am dogged by the sad thought of children who will never know what's it like to spook a partridge (that's what we Mainers call a ruffed grouse) from its hiding place in the underbrush. Watching a partridge explode from beneath your feet and rocket away through the tree trunks is an experience no human heart ever forgets.