Childhood worked great. One stretched out on the grass, and saw shapes in the clouds.A hovering vulture, miles away, gave rise to endless imaginings. The smell of rain pounding in the distance. A distant nebula in a cheap plastic telescope provided a kind of beacon home. Praying mantis, huge woodpeckers, the best hot dogs ever at the local Little League Park, and every creek an endless nature preserve. Somedays I remember those times--like quiet dusk days, or mackerel sky days, or days when I look out my upstairs window and see a hawk or a biplane off in the distance.