Thursday, October 22, 2015

WYL #5 b Eternal Summer

The essence of a sloth descended upon me Wednesday, that with an accompanying headache had me in bed way past a respectable hour. When I finally did emerge from the somnolent cocoon I wasn't exactly leaping like a lemur - the sloth was still with me. It gave me a chance to go through me WYL writings and print what I hadn't printed. I also identified the ones that haven't be posted yet, so hang onto your britches folks, fine literature is on its way :-0

Today was writing group so I read something I wrote in the summer about my summers as a child - minnows, creeks and frogs figure prominently.


Eternal Summer

The train roared by, stirring the tranquil summer air and mixing the acrid smell of tar with sweet clover. Suddenly I was in a time warp, transported to the mid sixties when I was a child. Smell can do that to you. Just ten years old, life was not a tapestry of 'what ifs' - it was the 'here and now', the moment. I had no thoughts of the future, other than the vague idea that I would have a horse someday. And a dog. Otherwise, there were no specifics. Tomorrow was as far ahead as I looked.

My bike tires crunched the gravel surface of that lonely country road. A recently cut hay field waiting to be baled lay on one side of the road; the smell of purple clover and drying grass hung in the air. There must have been the smell of creosote and tar mixed in with the sweetness of the clover, but I don't recall where it came from, perhaps a nearby railway track, or maybe two memories are mixed into one.

A line of barbed wire fence delineated the pasture on the other side of the road. Brown cows grazing peacefully dotted the grass, some were lying down in the shade of a large elm. There were wildflowers of all sorts carpeting the shallow ditches. Butterflies flitted among them. I could hear the music of bees doing their work. A meadowlark sang its distinct song.

A dark brown shape caught my eye. A horse, with a black mane and tail stood slightly apart from the cows. I was already obsessed with horses and had a notebook filled with carefully printed out names. Flash, Jet, and Patches were a few, the rest a faded memory. My stand-in horse, a blue bicycle, was named Fly. I rode this steed everywhere, imagining the pounding of hoofs as I peddled.

Further down the road was a dark forest, shadows obscuring most details. It was cooler here and quieter too, the sounds muffled by the deep carpet of leaves, and tall, strong trunks of the trees. The deep woods never held a quiet peace for me, instead, I always peddled a little faster until I was out into the sunshine again.

My destination was a little creek on the other side of the forest. Slightly out of breath, I lay my bike carefully on the ground. I peeled off my shoes and rolled up my shorts, then slithered down the bank until my toes were deep in the cool mud, revelling in the sensation of it squishing between my toes.  Some dragonflies flitted over the water and into the reeds. I crouched down to catch a little leopard frog that jumped from beneath my feet, grasping its slippery green body in my hands, and held it in front of me, looking into its alien eyes. It gave a little struggle and I let it disappear into the nearby cattails. I chased down some minnows, hoping to catch one to take home to my aquarium, but without a net or jar to put it in, it was a pointless task.

Splattered with mud, I scrabbled up the bank to the grassy area bordering the creek. Lying back on Nature's green velveteen blanket I gazed at the sky. A fluffy white horse raced across blue fields, its tail streaming out behind it. Another one raced nearby. I had to squint my eyes and turn my head just so to see the dog in the other cloud.  

As the morning disappeared into the afternoon the rumbling in my stomach reminded me of the time. Fly galloped down the road and skidded into the driveway, I jumped off and ran into the house as I knew my Mom would be waiting. With a quick wash of my hands, I rushed into the kitchen for a sandwich. Sitting at the table, with my mud splattered legs dangling, I savoured each bite of peanut butter and jelly.

I had no idea that decades later I'd be sitting in a car, in a far away place, reliving that memory, though perhaps it is augmented with others to create a beautiful kaleidoscope of images, smells and tastes. What makes a particular memory of a particular moment have so much impact that decades later it can be rerun and the feeling fleetingly recaptured? Maybe those memories are more indelible because they were lived in the moment and not diluted with all the must do's and worries that normally accompany our thoughts.


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