When I was just a young girl, starting at about 5, I lived in a house with my mother, father and two sisters. Behind our house was a small creek, a minor tributary of the Eno River. Every day, during the warm months of the year, I would eagerly go outside to play. I was armed with a green knapsack, a stick and my imaginary friends. I had two of them. One who I was especially close to was named Jill. I can remember her vividly. The other was a male and his name and anything about him has now faded from my memory. The only reason I can vaguely recall him is because my middle sister reminded me of him when I asked her if she remembered Jill.
Anyway, my imaginary playmates and I would excitedly go outside for an adventure. Each day the adventure however, was the same. I was going on a bear hunt. In my young mind, I was a fearless warrior who hunted bears and the bears would hide as soon as I placed my foot on the earth outside.
This was probably the last time in my life where I still held the knowledge that my blackness, my femaleness and my smallness did not render me powerless. Why, even bears trembled at my presence!
Invariably, I would go outside and I would head directly to the creek. We had a small bridge that ran over the creek. I would cross to the other side and visit with my dog Ashanti. I would stand on the bridge and peer into the creek. I would run along the bank of the creek on either side of the bridge, back and forth and side to side. And I would talk to the creek. As I am typing I remember the creek being a playmate also. I would talk to the creek, Jill and my other forgotten friend for hours until called inside for a nap or for dinner. Chattering happily, feeling safe and secure the hours would slip into afternoons and I was firmly planted and glorious in a world that I loved. I wish that I could remember those conversations. I can only remember the joy I felt with the sun browning my face and arms. The heat warming my my scalp that sported often intricate cornrows. As an adult I can only wonder at what I must have looked like! A little Black girl sharing all of her thoughts and secrets with a creek that babbled excitedly back.
I now know that I was talking to Yeye Oshun. I wish I could recall our secrets and jokes. It is now that I am again seeking her and maybe that was the way it was supposed to be all along. She knew that eventually, I would return! Happy Itadoggun!