I’m not at my best in the morning. My mood can take an hour or so to climb out of the pit it’s in. But this particular morning something happened to give my usual sense of gloom a kick up the backside.
I’d just parked up at my local gym; my morning exercise routine being something else I used to warm up my mental and emotional engine. As soon as I opened the car door I was lifted out of my seat and transported to another place and time. Memories of my childhood came flooding back to me. I was standing on top of a grassy embankment; the grass flattened in a downhill direction by the opened out cardboard boxes that we were using as makeshift toboggans. The sense of fear and exhilaration came back to me as I saw myself sat on my sheet of card and, grabbing the leading edge to pull it upwards, prepared to push myself forward to start my out of control race to the bottom of the slope. Then the adrenaline rush as I began my descent and accelerated.
I can’t remember who was with me. Maybe some friends, or my younger brothers. I do remember that we were joined by a couple of girls though. Something that added a different frisson of excitement. We were all pre-pubescent; probably about ten years old or younger. I remember a different set of feelings beginning to creep into my psyche; gently pushing aside the usual childhood senses I had. I didn’t know what they were; just that they were vaguely not unpleasant. We started to rough and tumble; boys pushing girls, girls pushing boys. We were losing control and falling off our bits of cardboard and then continuing to the bottom of the slope by rolling down. It was then I noticed the eldest girl. She was dressed in a blouse and skirt, and as she rolled down the slope the skirt rode up her thighs, to reveal her navy blue knickers and just peeking out from the hem of these the rosy pink skin of the cheeks of her bottom against the green of the grass. The effect on me was electric. I think it was the first time that I felt anywhere near turned on in such a positive and pure sense. I guess the fact that we were all laughing and happy helped to boost the sense of warmth and joy I felt at that moment. I didn’t understand what I was feeling, but I didn’t feel I had to either. We were all just enjoying our collective sub-erotic reverie.
At least until the older girls came along and shattered the moment. Oh, they didn’t mean any real harm. But their shout of, “oooh! What are you boys doing to those girls!” rounded off with a loud burst of teenage giggles, managed to cut through the innocence of our play like a chainsaw through a venerated Oak tree. I think that, serious minded child that I was, I suddenly felt like the feelings I had were in some way inappropriate.
Anyway dear reader, what was it you may ask, that was powerful enough to whisk me off through time like that. Well, just next to the car park there is a meadow. It usually has livestock grazing on it. But this year the farmer had decided to leave it to produce some winter fodder. A crop that had been cut just a few days before I got out of my car. The weather had been hot and sunny enough to dry the grass and herb mix quite quickly. The perfume from that field was wonderful. I wanted to lie down in it; as I probably would have done as a child. I could almost feel the pricking of the stubble in the skin of my back, the warmth of the sun on my face, the buzz of the insects in the air around me and, enveloping all of these sensations, the scent of freshly cut hay.