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Published on Jun 26, 2008
As a child I revered the floor the smell of my grandmother's living room rug the bright red planks in the kitchen of the summer house the smooth wood of the parquet in the in an Upper West Side Manhattan apartment Visiting the city sent me into a strange ecstasy narrow corridor streets and buildings that knew how to block out the sun the smell of bus exhaust, exotic, like the whiff of my father's pipe on the night before Christmas Back home I had the rail fence in the neighbor's yard where I could barefoot the top rail in precarious balance Seed pods from the maple branches above whirled through the air like green fairies, landing willfully on my shoulders, challenging me to catch them and stick them on my nose, a sacrilegious act I never atoned for Under my favorite tree was a mound of grass so soft I found it easy to commune with my own personal gods: kings and princesses, queens and their servants, who appeared at my command, this ritual as comforting as any church service When I wished, I could climb to the very top of the tree and look down on the world knowing all things were good all things were sacred as long as I made them so