Ahhh to be young again!
Kim and I have been friends since we were 5 or so. We grew up in a semi rural setting, about a 5 minute drive from the nearest town. But when you are a kid, if you can't walk there.....the nearest town might as well have been Siberia. There was a farm across the way and we would spend most of our time there. There was always something to do or see. And to this day, I am amazed that we survived it.
Having races to see who could crawl through the packed hay barn rafters, to the window at the other end and jump down into the manure spreader. If you are not familiar with a manure spreader, it looks like the bed of a pickup only at the back there is a row of very menacing blades that churn up the manure and shoot it out the back. On one occasion, one of the boys failed to make it through and we had to search for him. We dragged his unconscious body out of the hay loft. Thankfully, he was fine once he hit the fresh air, but we made everyone swear not to tell. (and my son wonders why I worry about him)
As a kid our days were filled with adventure. Exploring the woods, and swimming in one of many favorite swimming holes. (Again, if our parents only knew.) Playing spin the bottle in the empty hay loft, chasing the cows and sheep, trying to ride the one and only horse, who incidentally thought the whole idea of someone on his back was totally ludicrous. Mostly we watched (and laughed) as the boys would try and impress us with their riding skills, only to end up on their ass in a heap.
In the summer our life consisted of swimming and baseball, with a break in there somewhere for haying season.
Pause for cold shower.
Anyway, I digress. We grew up, moved away each of us in various places, sometimes far, but it seems most of us end up coming back home. Through the years we would loose touch but always managed to stay friends. I settled in town, and for the past 15 years or so she has been living in the city, about 2 hours from me.
Last Christmas, Kim came home, fell for a guy and ended up moving back. Now they are looking at properties. He works in the woods and has a horse so he needs land on which to keep it. (Hmmmmm come to think of it....he sort of looks like that farmer from our youth.)
Yesterday I took my son with me as I drove them to look at a property near where we grew up. It was the old ball field. Basically a cow pasture that the farmer let us play ball on. It was sort of a small valley bordered on one side by the brook and the other by trees. The field was lush and green and covered in daisies. Once you were in the field you were totally out of view of the surrounding residents.
As Kim and I walked the property, it was like we were 10 years old, heading out for a day of swimming and spying on boys. When we came to the far end of the field, I saw the path through the trees and I almost cried.
"Kimmy, this is it! It's Big Rock".
Big rock was the name we gave to the swimming hole because of its (you guessed it) big rock. So the two of us were standing there, staring at the spot where we spent long summer days. Then we turn and look at each other.
"Was it always that small, or did we just get bigger?"
In actuality, the rock had probably been moved by time and erosion. But we took that trip down memory lane. Little by little remembering. How we used to sit on the opposite bank that was more like a cliff and spy on the boys as they swam, or fished. Remembering how quiet it was (and still is) even though we were a half a mile from home, we could still hear our mothers calling us for supper. My son couldn't resist taking a dip and I almost joined him, but the realtor appeared then with her boyfriend and shattered the moment.
At that moment I truly envied her for the first time. How I wish I could end my days in that little valley, next to the swimming hole.