Every few years growing up in Wilmington, Delaware, my mother would pack the Grassie children into the car for a road trip across North America to visit our relatives in British Columbia. We would camp along the way at state parks along the way—a week out and a week back and two weeks in British Columbia. This encounter with the vast expanses of the United States and Canada, the many national parks, lakes, and rivers, made a last impression on me.
And so in my moody adolescence, I would take long walks after school with my dog along the railroad tracks, Red Clay Creek, and around Hoopes Reservoir in Wilmington. My Canadian mother had grown up skiing and in the winter took the young Grassie boys for night skiing on Chadds Peak, a little hill with a rope tow in nearby Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.