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A Shout From The Attic: Blake Lea

...Blake Lea had a swimming hole. It was not wide, it was not very deep, and it was not long, but for a brief division of its mysterious watercourse, it became spa, lido, watering hole, and gathering place, little more than a step or two outside the real world and its concerns, where, for the space of a sunny afternoon, pains and responsibilities released young boys from their grasp...

Ronnie Bray recalls a place of magical happiness.

To read earlier chapters of Ronnie's life story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_shout_from_the_attic/

Blake Lea was a place of magic for several reasons, and that may be why I could not lead you there if I tried because it is mystically hidden, somewhere west of Marsden, among folds of greensward ornamented with special moorland grass that had round blades instead of square ones. It was away from towns and houses, roads and traffic, and the prying eyes of those ubiquitous watchers and correctors, the grown-ups.

It was wild enough to be adventuresome, isolated enough to break it from the ties of normal life and its restrictions, and inviting enough to make it a place that I wanted to return to often. As it happened, I visited it but once.

That was not because I did not want to go there, for it was a special place in the life of a young lad, but because I only ever met one lad who knew where it was, and went there, and when our friendship underwent a natural termination, silently without rancour dissolving as day fades into night, my guide was lost forever, and Blake Lea slipped away into the Lost Worlds of childhood.

Blake Lea had a swimming hole. It was not wide, it was not very deep, and it was not long, but for a brief division of its mysterious watercourse, it became spa, lido, watering hole, and gathering place, little more than a step or two outside the real world and its concerns, where, for the space of a sunny afternoon, pains and responsibilities released young boys from their grasp as easily as our clothes fell from our robust limbs, and we splashed and sported as if the day would never end.

When we were exhausted by our splashing water sports and our weak imitations of Esther Williams, we climbed onto the bank, stretching out on the sunny mead, soaking up the summer sun with closed eyes and mouths that ceased not to chatter about everything we knew and more things about which we wondered.

At that time, I did not know that days like this would never come again. Had I known, I would have spent my time mourning on the water’s brink instead of enjoying a moment given by a benevolent Providence to be remembered when gray days came, and when escape from the dullness and pain of life was not possible: when the pain must be endured, the responsibilities shouldered, and when the only hope would be in remembering two brief hours at Blake Lea, hoping that even if it was not revisited, other places of disengagement might be discovered to give pause enough to bind up wounds and broken hearts, and refresh the courage to continue, that in me was small and green.

I keep images of that wild place as a buffer against a loss of confidence in the ability of the world to produce surprises as agreeable, exceptional, and as beneficial as the lapping water in the wide stream where we wove our childish dreams according to our needs in the warmth of a distant star that knew us not and cared not that we felt blessed by its rays.

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