While other little boys would impale a snail or ant on the end of a sharp stick, Markie would never dream of doing that. He loved all things greatly and considered the forest his house, the thick leaves colorful carpets, nursery logs his chairs, the sky his roof.
I swear he had real angle wings and possessed the most magical powers which I think he absorbed from the magnificent trees and the fresh air. He nearly flew along, bounding so easily over rocks and fallen logs, dashing ahead and I would follow, desperately trying to keep up. I could almost see his fluffy white wings spiriting him along, gliding through the forest floor with such ease.
I learned a lot from him.
Once when several popular trees fell down in a storm we built a neat fort with ample room for us all to crawl in and be able to look out along the path to spy on what was passing by. It took us the best part of two days to construct it and we were so proud of our great accomplishment. Two weeks later three mean boys from another part of the valley broke our fortress up and we sought revenge. Markie and I dragged several pails of fresh chicken manure from the local hen house and hid in the trees until the mean boys walked by. Markie timed it perfectly and we dropped the chicken shit right on top of the boys and ran like mad before they knew what happened. Those boys must have smelled up the countryside for miles.
I always wondered what ever happened to Markie and a year ago heard that he was killed in the Viet Nam War, a conscientious objector, who was a medic on the front lines. That would be Markie, for sure, not wanting to harm a living thing. I can still see his wings.