「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら
「ST」は紙名を新たに「Alpha」として2018年6月29日より新創刊しました。 Alpha以降の英文記事はこちら


A country childhood

By Kip A. Cates


I was born in the city of Vancouver, on the west coast of Canada. When I was 5 years old, my family moved outside the city to a new housing development in the forest. Our community had the romantic name of "Sunshine Hills."

It was exciting for my brother, my sisters and me to explore our new environment. While our city friends spent their days at kindergarten, we were free! Each morning, we played cowboys and Indians or hide-and-seek in the woods. Our afternoons were spent catching frogs, studying grasshoppers and climbing trees. Sometimes, we spent the day picking wild berries in the forest. We'd bring these home to our mother, who made delicious berry pies for dessert.

When I became 6 years old, it was time to start school. A new school had just been built in our area: Sunshine Hills Elementary School. There weren't many children, so it was quite small. The entire school consisted of just one room!

Our one-room school had 20 children and two teachers. There were two blackboards -- one at the front and one at the back. In the middle of the room was a curtain. One teacher taught smaller children on one side while the other teacher taught older children on the other. It often got quite noisy!

Attending a school located beside a forest meant frequent encounters with nature. I still remember one such event. It was a typical day. We were sitting in class learning arithmetic. Our teacher was writing on the blackboard.

Suddenly, a classmate pointed toward the forest and shouted, "Look over there!" We quickly turned our heads to look out the window. We were stunned by what we saw.

Just across the school ground, 70 meters away, a deer had emerged from the forest. Its head was bent low to the ground as it chewed on some grass. On hearing our shouts, it slowly lifted its head and gazed leisurely at us for several moments.

It was a magnificent animal, over 2 meters tall, with beautiful big antlers. After a minute or two, it turned around and disappeared into the forest. You can imagine our excitement. A wild deer! Just outside our school!

Looking back, it's hard to believe I had such a rural childhood. Playing in the forest, seeing wild animals, attending a one-room schoolhouse. These all sound like experiences from the 19th century, or like medieval fairy tales such as Snow White or Hansel and Gretel!

I was lucky to grow up near a forest and feel nostalgic about my carefree childhood. Many kids nowadays are so busy with computer games, DVDs and cellphones that they've lost touch with nature. Children need sunshine, fresh air and contact with the great outdoors. Let's appreciate the natural world and teach our children to respect it!



The Japan Times ST: October 11, 2013

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート




2018年6月29日号    試読・購読   デジタル版