Wheat Fields

There were different stages of wheat fun to be had when I was small, and only a matter of yards from my back yard.

What seemed a huge wall with a domed top, lay just a hop and a skip from my house. This wall had a gaping hole in it, and through that hole waited hours and hours of late summer adventures among the wheat that grew there. To the left lay a small burn that ran the entire length of the field, and half way up, it widened to where a dead, gnarly old tree stood – we fondly knew that tree as the lightning tree, given that its bare limbs reached out like rigid and frozen forks of lightning… That tree would have looked quite comfortably at home in the garden of the Adams Family. Below it, where the burn ditch widened, was a deep cleft, steep on either side – to my small mind in a huge world, it could have easily been a dried up Mariana Trench or the Valles Marineris on Mars…

This trench was most useful after the wheat had been cut and baled, as we’d tear up the bales and fill the trench to the brim with the straw! Rightly or wrongly we did that without the slightest bit of concern for the farmers income – well, we didn’t understand… We just saw an opportunity to play out our games. Once the trench was full, we’d climb the tree and, without a shred of care for our fragile little limbs, hurl ourselves from the top of the tree into the bed of straw – disappearing within then climbing triumphantly out again – swearing the next time we’d do a better somersault!

Of course, injuries came thick and fast and included, bloodied noses, broken ankles and wrists – well worth it though. The added bonus back then was that you had a plaster pot; the smoother parts of the pot made for an excellent drawing surface!

Prior to the wheat being cut, there was one other game that we particularly loved. We’d tunnel. On hands and knees, we’d crawl up and down, side to side and every which way we could think of – no ufologically mysterious crop circles where we were concerned! Random and messy pathways through a sea of wheat… Tunnels constructed, we’d scatter in all directions, hide in silence then transport ourselves into some magical land where we’d creep and crawl with the sole purpose of capturing or shooting our enemies – the throaty noise we made to mimic a machine gun I just cannot bring myself to re-visit – but at times, it certainly could make you cough!

I can still remember how it felt to be in that field. Warm, humid days at the back-end of the summer, the smell of the wheat and soil on knee-scuffed pants; warm, still and calm among the stems that at their top, stroked the sky like a giddy painter would stroke with a feather for a brush…

Late summer and at the day’s end, I’d stare from my pillow at the window as the light grew a warm orange and swifts, maybe swallows could be heard, ushering out the day but telling me that it wouldn’t be long until we could do it all over again…


About Robert

A fifty-something, retired Celestial Travel Agent. Walked many paths; some good, lots bad. Meandering through the past, plodding in the present, crawling toward the future.
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