Cornfield

When I was a boy aged approximately 11 years old, I had an experience of what summer feels like, which I have never really been able to capture since.

At the time of this experience, 40 years ago, I was camping in the Yorkshire Dales with the scouts (Baden-Powell) and a group of us, known as a “patrol” set off for a walk to a local village on one very warm and sunny afternoon.

We walked on a footpath on the edge of a field of corn and the feeling which overcame me as I walked at the edge of that cornfield touched me in a very profound way.

I felt blissfully happy, content, overwhelmed with the sights and sounds of the brown swaying corn and the trees on the edge and the birds flying to and from them, calling from within them.

On Friday last week, I drove past a field of corn with a footpath at the side of it, in the beautiful southeast of England and I was immediately reminded of that experience which I can only describe as “unfettered summer” which I had experienced all those years ago.

I was reminded of it, but I did not feel it in the same way, and what is more, I did not expect to, but in acknowledging that change within me, which may have something to do with the transition from child to adult or from innocence to experience or from freedom to responsibility, I felt a tad melancholy.

How does an adult, feeling laden with the responsibilities of life, perhaps regrets and continuing questions as to his future direction of life, recapture the feeling of summer as if he was still a child?

I think the clue to this is in the whispering of the corn, as heard from the footpath at the edge of the cornfield, or at the edge of the sea, or in the hills and dales.

Instead of being reminded of pure beauty, feeling melancholy and driving on, perhaps I should have stopped, and listened to the breeze as it weaves itself unseen through the corn and allowed it speak to me through my eyes and ears and nose and skin.

My next blog will be: Casket

William Defoe

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