Last night, Scott, Walt, and I went riding in the country. I’d never been at night, and I had been wanting to go really badly.
First we went to our bridge. We were there for a long time, and we all just talked about different things. Then Scott told us a story about the three spinning fairies. It was good; the girl invited them to her wedding and was not ashamed of their appearances, so they spun her flaxen. Then her prince husband found out they had ugly features because of spinning, and he said she’d never spin again. Then Walt told the story of the Green Gorilla. That was good, too. He chased a man all over, and then when he finally caught the man, he said, “You’re it!” I liked both stories. I tried to think of one, but I couldn’t. We all had nickels to make wishes on, too. I wished for happiness and to make others happy.
Then we went to the graveyard. We went to the back fence and there was a field. So we climbed the fence, and Walt and Scott went running. They were like kids, running as fast and as hard as they could and yelling and just loving it. While they were running, I went down to the bottom of the hill and there was a line of trees. I wanted to go through to the next field and the next and the next and on forever, just to see what there was to see. When we were all there, we went through and across the next field, then around where the truck tracks led to another field, and it was a cornfield that hadn’t been cut down. So, we went through this cornfield. Almost to the end, we came to a clearing of sorts and sat for a while. It was great. The corn was taller than us, especially since we had begun to go uphill. It was so secluded and all; it was incredible. You felt a million miles away from everything. There was no school, no work, no tests or papers, no bills, no world. I never wanted to leave.
When we got to the end, though, there were real woods with a house behind them. So we turned back then. I got some briar scrapes, a corn leaf and a stick out of it, and Scott and Walt each got an ear of corn. When we got back to the graveyard, they sang Amazing Grace and then some camp songs. It was nice.
I kept thinking about those two trees growing there, and how they are the same. We call them both trees, they have branches and leaves, bark, roots, and limbs. But they are totally different from one another. One is straight and one is short-trunked. People are just like that, too. We all are the same; we have arms, legs, blood, bones and cartilage and muscles. But we all think and feel different things. We see and interpret differently from one another, also.
When we left there, we just went through the rest of the road and back down by the water again. Walt wanted a reflector and he got us all one. When we got back, they came in. It was about 9:30 and we’d been out about three hours. They stayed until a little after 11:00. Scott told another story and Walt told them the Green Gorilla story. This may be dumb, but I was happy to have been the first one to hear it. Scott played some piano, too, and we all talked some, too. It was a good night, all around.
As I read through this, I’m struck by how simplistic the writing seems, just very straightforward and unadorned, almost juvenile. The same could be said for the feelings conveyed. I spent the evening wandering the countryside with my friends. It was fun. That’s it.
But it’s also everything.
This evening really made an impression on my mind. I particularly remember, as we stood looking over that graveyard fence, Scott and Walt turning to each other and saying, “This looks like a running field.” I didn’t know what they were talking about. It’s interesting to think of the languages we have with each other; I heard what they were saying, and I understood the words, but they were speaking their own private language.
And then they did – they ran. It was wonderful.
What strikes me is how seldom I have those kinds of nights anymore. My attention has been sucked into the computer or the television or work. When I was young, my friends and I used to do simple things together. We would go out and explore the world. We’d walk around the neighborhood, drive around in the country, explore broken down houses, or just look, or just take pictures, or pick flowers, or whatever. We spent evenings hanging out and actually talking. I don’t do that very much anymore. What a shame.