Off The Beaten Path – Remembering Dad’s Grass Path In The Woods

By Nikki Tilley | July 2, 2020
by Nikki Tilley
July 2, 2020

Memories are funny things in that there are some you cannot recall to save your life, others you absolutely cherish, and many more which come to you out of nowhere, sparked by a particular smell, place, food, etc. I recently had one of those latter memories, something long since forgotten that suddenly came flooding back while working out our lawn theme. We had an article about grass garden paths cross my desk, and there it was”¦

Off the Beaten Path – Dad’s Grass Path in the Woods

When I was just entering my “tween” years, we left the city and moved to a rural area, or the country as we call it here. It wasn’t that much further from where we’d lived before, maybe only a 10- to 15-minute drive away, but the surroundings differed – no more development with neighbors packed on top of one another. No more noise from traffic, the apartment complex or even the shopping center just through the woods. No more walking to the top of the hill to catch the bus with all the other kids. Now it was just one neighbor across the street with fields flanking each side, and another next door with a small patch of woods separating us.

The two-story house was an older one, once log, and had a tin roof. Though it sat rather close to the road, the huge backyard and empty field next to it more than made up for that. I remember the massive vegetable garden mom put in that first year and each year after. She did a lot of canning from those harvests, and I especially loved the fruit preserves.

The excitement I felt when exploring the old barn and outbuildings on the property couldn’t be topped (I once dreamt of being an archeologist, so digging around and exploring comes naturally.). And then there was the woods, both next to and behind us. This quickly became my home away from home, but what made it even better was the secret hideaway just through the wooded field next to the barn. It had once been a pasture or meadow, but time had filled it in with overgrown grass and small trees, many of which were pines and cedars. My dad wanted to clean it up some, having no idea that in the process he would be creating every kid’s dream – a “wonderland” where friends were welcome and imagination free to grow wild.

He had simply mown grass paths throughout the old tree-filled pasture, some winding around to destinations unknown and others taking you back to where you started. It was my “safe” place, a magical place. I never grew tired of those mown grass paths and where they would take me next. And just when I thought it couldn’t get better, dad would change it up on me, mowing different pathways and allowing old ones to grow.

Memories are funny things. I hadn’t thought of this special childhood place in so long, but all it took was one article to trigger its return. And it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. I recently reminisced with my boss about a fond childhood memory of my father, whose been gone awhile now. I’m thankful for this spur-of-the-moment recollection, especially with Father’s Day approaching. Strange how something so simple as creating a grass path in the woods can mean so much to a kid, even now all grown up. I am thinking of creating a space like this of my own – in the garden this time, perhaps a meadow with mown paths. A place where all are welcome and imagination runs free!

Tell us what you think: Leave a comment
2 people are already talking about this.
This article was last updated on
Read more about Throw Back Thursdays
Did you find this helpful? Share it with your friends!

Get our latest eBook, “Bring Your Garden Indoors: 13 DIY Projects for the Fall and Winter”

As the seasons change, it’s time to think about bringing your garden indoors. From creating an indoor garden to using natural decor for your holiday decorations, our latest eBook features 13 of our favorite DIY projects for the whole family.

 Happy holidays from all of us at Gardening Know How.

  • Peanutt
    Comment added July 6, 2020Reply

    We got the bus or train to Ruislip Manor. We then climbed up and over Windmill Hill and down the other side to Ruislip Woods. This was an enchanted place with the trees and bracken and so much more. Through the woods we came to the Reservoir before it was fenced off and sometimes my Dad would hire a rowing boat for an hour or so. This was magic. What a way to spend an afternoon. And so we would return home tired and happy.

  • Elisa
    Comment added July 3, 2020Reply

    A nicely-done article . The best places are off the beaten path.

    I love to hear about places that dot not get the big write-ups in the travel books and forums.

    Every place has it's share of incredible off the beaten track spots. Thanks for sharing this secret one.

    Elisa from Buenos Aires Off the Beaten Path Tours

Leave a comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Join Us - Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips!