Many years have passed since those summer days
Among the fields of barley
See the children run as the sun goes down
Among the fields of gold
I headed out this morning on what I intended to be a 6 or 7 mile, half-hour bike ride. I decided to go a different direction today toward the more rural parts of our community.
Before long I was among farmers harvesting their fields. Memories of growing up on an Ohio farm came flooding back. I kept pedaling, taking in one field after the other. I have very few memories from my youth that I can actually taste and smell, but harvest air is one of them. I confess, by the time I reached the field above and decided to get off my bike and snap a picture, I wasn't feeling as fresh as a 10 year-old, but I caught a few whiffs of 40 year old air that was familiar enough to make me wonder if I hadn't traveled back in time, at least for a moment.
I'm thankful we didn't have iPads and video games when I was a kid. I'm glad I lived in the age of only 3 television stations and fewer shows than that worth watching during the day. I'm pretty certain my parents wouldn't have let us sit inside all day to be eaten alive by the electronic world. I'm even more certain I would have never chosen to do so over riding on the wheel hub of my great grandfather's old tractor while he pulled a 2 or 3 row corn picker behind it.
I was talking to one of my best high school buddies last week about our fading memories. It's true, I've scheduled appointments today that will be forgotten by tomorrow. (I admit, today I say thank God for electronics because they will remind me of those forgotten appointments come Monday). I remember less and less about cars I owned or songs I used to sing. But there's something about those days running around on the farm with my family that are as present in me as the hugs my boys will give me later.
There's tons of research that I won't bore you with that suggest kids' imaginations are being significantly hindered by the lack of outdoor time. Roaming around in large fields of gold a child can't help but imagine just how far the gold flows on and what they might find at the end of it. I remember roaming through the rows of cornfields pretending I was lost forever. There were many days I pretended quite well enough that it felt real. I'd put together my survival plan and be several steps into it when the search party would show up, or it got dark and scary and being lost forever sounded less adventurous, whichever came first.
I'm convinced more each day that yesterdays imagination is today's memory. Much more than the things and toys and mom I have to have this or I'll dies.
Today I was very thankful for the memories I have. That they are still fresh enough to smell and taste. I pray I will help create memories in our boys that 40 years from now they will be standing along side of some road in the middle of nowhere and smile about, and feel 10 again.
I also hope they'll be a better judge of time and distance. I'm afraid by the time I was done journeying around the county I had traveled 25 miles in about 2 hours. When I got home I felt like I had been lost in a cornfield since the early 70's and a lot of people were still looking for me.