Sunday, July 10, 2011

On the Streets

By Belinda

Our large house has emptied out this week with summer upon us, and it is just Paul and I; our family dog Molson (really Brenda's dog;) Disco and Sunny the cockatiels; and a chinchilla named Blossom (all belonging to Brenda and her girls.)

I'm doing my best for Molson. Today he had two walks because he needs them and so do I. The other pets are pretty self reliant and I just go down and socialize with the birds a little each day.

I love walking the streets of the village, taking in every scent in the breeze and noting the sounds; enjoying the sights on every hand. Come walk with me.

This evening an ivory lace half moon hung in a sky dotted with puffy peachy silver cloud pillows. The ditches and fields were a riot of purple, yellow and speedwell blue wild flowers and elegant grasses and reeds, nodding their heads politely as we passed by.

A mourning dove cooed softly against a backdrop of twittering and chirping and the distant drone of cottage country traffic returning to the city after a weekend away.

An oddly comforting whiff of cigarette smoke drifted from a verandah, mixed with the scent of dryer sheets

On the pavement lay evidence of intimacy or perhaps not so much--a used condom. A different village lives at night.

Two weeks from tomorrow I leave for two weeks in another village--this one in England; the Alvechurch I grew up in. On those streets I will walk Bruce, my brother's dog and I'll be remembering, as I pass the house we grew up in, the summers of long ago when the street was filled with children.

We drew hopscotch squares on the pavements with chalky stones and tirelessly, we did the hop on one leg, then land on two feet, hop on one leg, land, jump, turn and land again, hopscotch dance, until it our parents called us inside.

Sometimes we skipped, or rode bikes or scooters, or roller skated. The day I learned to roller skate I thought that I would never learn to stand up on those ball bearing wheels strapped to my feet. I fell over time after time, feet flying up and bottom or knees hitting cement, but I was determined to learn and I did. I don't know how Mum ever coped with the noise of my skating the hallway inside and hitting the front door each time with a bang, but she tolerated it for considerable periods of time.

The village hasn't changed much, except for the big field that we called the "football field." It sloped gently down from the top of ancient Bear Hill, to a brook that ran along the bottom of the field. Each year the long grass would be cut down and stacked in piles which we would jump over. Once I landed on the ground on the other side so hard that I couldn't catch my breath. The other children gathered around in momentary panic until, after what seemed like endless seconds, my breath came back.

The brook was lined with trees that we climbed in or hung over the water from, or we sloshed through it with our Wellington boots on. The hedgerows had hollow spaces within them where all sorts of make believe games went on. The graveyard too, was a place to wander, look at names and dates and muse. There was never an end to things to do.

Now the football field is full of streets and houses, but the brook still flows along the edge of the land on which Mum's flat stands and I can see and hear it from her windows. She won't have any worries that I'll be skating her hallways and crashing into the door!

These are just a couple of the places I've belonged to and borrowed for a while.

3 comments:

Leslie said...

This made me reflect on my own childhood days when we were outside all the time. The rule was to come home when the streetlights came on. We have so much to be thankful for, including our past blessings!

Theresa said...

Lovely post. Couldn't help but picture you walking a chinchilla on a leash though LOL!!!

There was a hill on the army base I grew up on that was much like yours. We called it Suicide Hill. You would not believe how I laughed as an adult when I saw that hill again. It was tiny!! Love how in a childs mind things are so much bigger and take so much longer. Childhood was a wonderful time for me.
Thanks for helping me reminisce:)

Belinda said...

How cool that this reminiscence took you both back to childhood for a few moments! Thank you for sharing your own memories Leslie and Theresa. It was a wonderful time of freedom wasn't it? So unstructured and relatively unprotected compared to today's childhoods.

I laughed at the Suicide Mini-hill Theresa! :)