Adventure is not outside the man:
it is within.
My beautiful blue, fun-loving snowshoes have been replaced by my mud-covered ‘Pink Cadillac Boots’. December in my part of Canada is not what I was expecting, nor hoping for. Stepping down from the tractor, and then wading through the mud to close the gate and after picking up the hay bales, that swirling stirring mud beneath my feet begins to stir those memories of long ago.
As a child I loved adventure and as it so happens, playing in the mud. My brothers, sisters and I had always found the most challenging places to play as children. Unfortunately, and now that I think about it, our poor Mom. She probably had no idea how adventurous, and possibly naïve of the danger we had been.
In the spring of the year, we would walk a couple of miles (one way) to an old sandpit quarry, just outside a little village. It was isolated and provided us with hours of fun. Now that I think about it, it was a wonder anyone of us survived. The words adventurous and stupid have a very fine line in its division of meaning, at least in this case.
This old sandpit had a special spot we called the “Quicksand Hole” named no doubt for all those old westerns that we used to watch on the TV, and yes, I do know that you know where I am heading with that name. We would all line up near the edge of the embankment. The bravest (or possibly just the show off), all the way down to the not wanting to do it, but did not want to be called “Chicken” person. My brother T would always be the first in line. I was somewhere in the middle, as I remember.
When it was your turn, you would walk back, and then take a run and a ‘Flying leap’ off the edge of that embankment. Always with your arms up, you would land in the middle of “Quicksand Hole”. Brother T, who had always gone first, would be waiting for the next in line to jump in, close to him so that they could both pull each other out of the waist deep mud. There were always loud cheers and fits of uncontrollable laughter coming from the top of the embankment.
When my time came around, I flew off that embankment. With my arms straight up above my head, I ran as fast I could. There was a huge plop, then that feeling of the cold soothing mud as I sunk deeper, the laughter from the top of the embankment, and then being quickly surrounded by the ones I knew would always save me. These memories are still fresh in my mind.
This, now I think of as craziness, continued over and over again until finally, all of us being exhausted, would all know it was time to walk the long way home. First we had to “Hide the evidence”, as they say. There was always a big puddle of water just heading out of the sandpit quarry, so we would all take a bath in it. It was a given that our Mom would not be very happy knowing what we did to put in our days. Most likely she thought we were not very far away, and playing with friends. She was right about the friends. It appeared they were just as adventurous and as naïve as we were in this game. The long line of children walking the back road to the sandpit would get longer, with every spring that came around. Our secret was out, well not to the parents but out, none the less. I have no idea how many years this adventure had continued. I have a sneaking suspicion someone “Let the cat out of the bag” and it was immediately shut down and rightly so.
The gate is shut. I wade back through the mud. Bossy2 and the other girls are waiting for their morning breakfast and I have a rain hat to share.
Pulling myself up into the tractor, I find myself wondering; What ever happened to that adventurous, danger dodging girl? I guess she “Smartened up” as my Grandma used to say.
(As it creeps ever so closer to Christmas I find that my childhood memories keep spilling out. I hope you don’t mind)