The Dirt Pile
Isabel, Age 12, Atwater, CA

The cool summer breeze would gently brush against our cheeks. All four of us would be covered from head to toe with nothing but pure dirt. The dirt pile in my backyard was the place where all four of us enjoyed and spent most of our time on summer days in our younger years. It wasn’t any secret really, the location and all, but the things we did there and the things we experienced there were unexplainable and no one understood just how much the dirt pile meant to us. It was almost like an unsolved mystery.

In that dirt pile we were four young Indian sisters escaping from the village in which our cruel father ruled. We had to eat from our surroundings. The overgrown weeds were sticky and tart in our mouths. Useless twigs defended us from anything that ever tried to cause harm in the forest of my backyard. We sat in tall dirt thrones using shovels as our spears. In the end we would find that handsome Indian boy and return to the village.

We were animals in the dirt pile. Lost dogs and cats. Of course two of us always had to be the generous owner that rescues the strays. The “dogs” would dig holes in the dirt pile to take naps. If you ever walked in on us by chance you would have been convinced that we were half dog or cat.

Or there was that one time when we were playing house. I was always the mother or the sister. We constructed dirt countertops, tables, chairs, beds, anything you name it. All of it out of dirt. Being the mother of the house I had to keep the family in line. We all lived together in one happy family.

As we got older and wiser, the competition raised higher and higher. We would set ourselves on teams and we had a certain time limit in which we were to complete the best house in the dirt pile. After a while we began getting fancy and started putting leaves and grass as carpet and rocks as tile on the floor. Old blocks were used as countertops and end tables. Once my team got so fancy, we made small stairs leading down into the entryway. No one ever wanted to do the judging part so we would go do something else to keep ourselves occupied for the rest of the day.

The end of the day was always the worst. My cousins’ mother would arrive to take them to their house to get them all washed up. My sister and I had to stay home and get washed up as well. My parents would complain about how filthy we were even though they knew we were just a few kids having a little fun on a weekend.

To this day, the dirt pile is still in my backyard. Over the years it has flattened. I remember the dirt pile always looking so huge compared to our small bodies. All four of us were able to fit in the dirt pile without being squished. Now I don’t even think one of us could fit in it. Whenever I walk outside and see that little mound of dirt I just go into a daze. That little mound takes back a lot of summer memories. A lot of memories.

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