|Me. Setting off to climb Cribden. 1971.|
Tuesday August 11th 2015.
How is it that sometimes a random impression from the past will pose itself at the forefront of the mind?
It is not as though the train of thought had been on that particular track.
Out here in the garden, the air has been so still that no leaf stirs......
The washing hangs limply on the line, and there is a general silence from the long summer break.
Less traffic, quieter roads.
As I write the sounds of children playing nearby float on the air......
Maybe, just maybe, that stirred my senses.
I was suddenly transported back into the past of my own childhood summers.
They always seemed so filled with sunshine.
I am sitting by a river, with waters so clear in places, that each pebble and stone looks up at me out of the shallows by the edge.
We are having a picnic.
It had involved two bus journeys and a walk to arrive with my parents and sister.
I am looking for minnows, small silvery fish which dart in and out of the translucent green water weed waving in the current.There is an old stone bridge nearby where the river passes through two arches, creating a mirrored image in the water. I could sit here for ages watching......
|Rawtenstall viewed from Cribden Hill. One I used to regularly climb.|
I am sitting in a field of glorious golden buttercups, on a hillside, sunshine warming my face.
Mayflowers creating punctuation marks of colour in between.
The grass is rippling in the breeze.
Such a sense of freedom and sheer enjoyment in all that I can see.
Childhood, at least mine, was like that....
Memory stirs again.............................................
There is rough bark under my hands, it's texture grazing my palms occasionally as I gradually climb upwards looking for footholds as I move higher, the ground receding below. How I love climbing trees!
I still love trees, their varied shapes and forms, the way the light dapples through the leaves in summer, and the skeleton outlines of wintertime.
Now I paint pictures of trees.
Random memories, snatches of the past whispering to me in pictures, like muffled conversations.
And always, always the timeless hills which surrounded our valley.
I used to follow the well-trodden field paths to reach their summits, looking down into the valley where the houses seemed so tiny and far away.
Up on the top where the air was pure,and other hills melted away into the far distance, you could hear the sound of a curlew.
How did I feel? I felt very small in the timelessness of the moment.
I am so very glad I climbed them before their slopes became covered with more housing and the fields disappeared.
It is 41 years since I left Rossendale and it's hills, but they have left an indestructible mark on my formative years and beyond.
It was simply the best childhood.