Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ditch Racers

I was driving to town the other day and I had to smile.

Two children were playing in the ditch. How close to the road they were was a little scary I'll admit but it was what they were doing that made me smile. And remember some happy times my brother and I had as kids.

We have a little snow here right now. A very little bit of snow. There is enough that you need to wear boots because it's deep enough to spill into your shoes if you walk through it but not enough to be doing any serious winter stuff. Not enough for me to build a snowman... Which is what the barely below zero temperatures told me I wanted to be doing.

I saw movement at the far side of the road and looked over to see what was up.

There was a child with a snow racer and he plopped it down at the road side and then jumped on it and swooped it down the "hill" of the ditch into the bottom of it. There was another youngster at the bottom with his snow racer too. It made me smile... These two kids were obviously having a great time, putting alot of energy into the game, and I wonder what they were imagining as they played in the snow covered ditch which was only about 4 feet deep at the most and not that steep. Was it some sort of cliff they were taking their machines off the edge of? Were they on a steep mountainside trekking across some wilderness? Were they on snowmobiles jumping over drifts and flying across the snow?

Who knows?

When we were kids my brother and I used to build forts in the bushes, and of the bushes. We would remove all the dead branches from the center of a willow thicket and haul stones inside and other flat pieces of wood and that would be our fort. We imagined we were part of the Wind in the Willows book or some other adventure we had dreamed up. In the summer with all the thick leaves around us it was an excellent fort. No one could see us hiding there. We would spend hours there after we crawled through the hole in the leaves and branches to get to the center. At least that's what we believed. Now I'm not so sure how good the cover really was. And I can't go back and look anymore because that bunch of trees died when the water decided to invade that area. But the point was that we were doing something, we were using our imaginations and we were having fun.

In the winter we dug caves in the hard packed snow that drifted up against the willows on the slough near the yard. We would jump from the tops of the drifts and swim through the snow at the base of these cliffs. And in our mind they were cliffs, there was no doubting it, and there was deep water at the base. Now I'm not sure how tall those drifts were or how deep the snow really was. It seems like now there isn't as much snow as there was back then. I'm not sure if that's a climate thing or the fact that I'm just taller now and my perspective has changed.

It doesn't really matter. We were having a blast in those chilly rooms we carved out with a spade in our artic igloos each winter.

Those kids in the ditch brought back to my mind something I'd forgotten about. Made me smile to remember.

They made be feel both young and old at the same time....

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