Sunday, September 12, 2010

Disguised

Me at age 6

 Running down the back side of a hill was a small stream that filled the gully left by the work crew when they widened the road last summer. On either side where the water had receded there were mud flats and beyond them, on the far side, the earth was cracked and craggy, looming up like miniature mountains, their tops rock-studded and grass-anchored.

Something inside me shifted. I was suddenly six again and imagining I was three inches tall, a trick of the imagination I often employed when I was young. I squatted my small self down at the river’s edge and stared up at the immense mountains on the other side. Grass grew past my shoulders and the river, fleeing downhill, was swift and deep and sparkling in the late afternoon sunlight.

I walked out into the soft mud and glanced behind me. There were my footprints, small and perfect, dissolving slowly in the wet earth. I looked about and found a twig. I scratched my name in the mud and watched the letters fill with water and fade like invisible writing. I looked about for a sturdy leaf to make a boat, wondering how long it would take me to navigate the river to the bottom of the hill.

Though the sound of a car brought me back to my proper size, I kept the sense of being a kid. I picked up a stick and dragged it along the pavement, liking the buzzy sound it made as it bumped along behind me. I walked the length of the gully to the bottom of the hill and there I knelt at the roadside. I put the flat of my hand in the gooey mud and pressed down, pulling it back with a squelching sound. I heard birds calling. Jays screeched in the distance and two ducks, flying low, quacked to each other. I flopped down in the meadow grass and swatted at bugs and watched the clouds change shapes. Blown by an invisible wind, they drifted above the trees and I watched until it seemed the clouds were standing still and the trees were moving.

I watched the faces in the cars that passed, solemn and serious, and wondered how they came to be that way, going home at the end of the day. Where was the happiness that came from listening to the birds, from seeing the fluttering green leaves of late summer? Where was the contentment of work well done, of supper waiting, and a vibrant sunset painting the sky?

I smiled at them and waved, a six year old disguised as a grown up, mud-splattered and dragging a stick. Some of them smiled back.



18 comments:

Teri said...

I love this...how it takes me back to an age that we have inside of us yet forget to acknowledge each and every day. Love the dragging of the stick. It's so metaphorical, isn't it? It's something that we, as adults, feel silly doing. Nice writing!

Brian Hayes said...

It takes millions of years of tiny grindings to make mud that goops and slurps so noisily. Gooping and slurping in high science in the right hands and fine, fine stories in other hands. Mud can do that, but only old mud. HA!

Brian Miller said...

this was wonderful...love the descriptions as i was right there...and so much a kid again myself...sometimes we just have to be that way...i wish we could capture it in a hug...

Gary said...

This is so refreshing and vivid. I remember this kind of imagination so well and you capture it perfectly with your words. A time when the moment we are in is all that there is without worry or a past or a future. What a pleasure to be able to capture that every so often. Thanks.

Star said...

I enjoyed your trip down memory lane. It brought back my own memories in your vivid descriptions of how you felt when you were small. Lovely!
Blessings, Star

Barbara said...

Oh to be 6 again! I would love to have been your friend. I'll bet we could have come up with so many projects inside and out.

herhimnbryn said...

Never let go of that 6 year old!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Ahh to be a kid again. This was wonderful.
Cheers, jj

Sky said...

and this is living...being inside each moment perfectly and fully.

prernatutors said...

hii i like the blog very much.

Pauline said...

Teri,

I try to keep the little kid in there alive :)

Brian H - and old hand, eh? Thanks :)

Brian M - thanks - when someone says they're right there I know I've got the words right

Gary - we teachers see that imagination every day, yes? It's a quality worth nourishing

Star - I try to feel that way during some part of every day

Barbara - we'd have had fun for sure. It's nice to be friends now, too :)

HHB - she's alive and well :)

Thanks, JJ - you can do it too!

Sky - I agree. It is living to the fullest. We may as well, yes? Makes life more interesting.

Thanks, prernatutors. Thanks for stopping by.

Marion said...

Oh, Pauline, how I wish I had been there with you. Is there anything better than mud...even now I rarely pass by mud without at least dragging my foot through it.

You've written about some of the thoughts I had and still have about the travellers in their cars...how do you do that? :)

Do you remember dragging sticks along a fence? Best way to make some noise!

Tabor said...

Thanks for your visit. I think it is wonderful to be a child again. I have to remember to work at it when my grandchildren visit. Trying to get back into that 'no goals' 'no time' mode.

Pauline said...

Marion - we must think along the same lines ;)

Tabor - it's easier to do when there are small children around...

Land of shimp said...

That was truly wonderful. You did capture the feeling, and evoke the memories of childhood.

Pauline, as I'm catching up, what's mostly striking me is that, oh my goodness, you and your daughter looked so much alike as children. I honestly thought you were one and the same, seeing the above post, and then this one before reading the photo caption.

I just thought I'd mention that. It seemed beautifully fitting as your daughter awaits a baby. Our echoes in each other are sometimes more easily glimpsed than others.

deb said...

I remember being six , playing in the dirt under our porch planting lima beans and hoping.
I think I still feel like that when I'm gardening, or playing in the sandbox or making sandcastles....

Hilary said...

So beautifully expressed. I find that the older I get, the more easily I'm remembering those days of childhood.. the sensations .. the joys. You've captured them so well here.

Jingle said...

lovely one!