Also see: Op-Ed: Preserve Local Parks Grants , adapted from this essay
Like many in my parents' generation, my Gen-X childhood was spent outside whenever possible, with the freedom to roam the neighborhood and explore the vestiges of "the wild" wherever they could be found. In southern Missouri, that meant playing in small valleys, not fit for home construction, that still teemed with minnows, crawdads, and the occasional alligator snapping turtle. Even the backyard offered something wild: instead of a fence separating us from our neighbors, we had an old farm tree line; some of the larger horse apple trees still had bits of barb wire encased in their bark. The trees sheltered squirrels and chipmunks, birds and bats.
And then we moved to Plano, in the middle of 7th grade. Again our home was on old farmland, but there were no vestiges other than the flatness of tilled cropland. White Rock Creek was perhaps a mile away, but there was no access without obviously trespassing – and it wasn't compelling enough to risk getting in trouble. I turned inward and focused on my studies; perhaps that was for the best. But I felt lost. A part of me was missing.