I often think of my childhood with nostalgia
and an intense longing to return
to those carefree days of innocence
and openness of heart, those days
before tutors raced to transform me
into a 'well-rounded' adult.
My fertile imagination thrived then
and knew no ridicule.
In childhood I was never afraid to mention
the mermaids I'd met and befriended
in the 'sea' that was a meadow
of long grass beyond our garden gate;
or the scary pirate ship I'd seen
in the outline of a wind-tossed pine;
or even the marauding Vikings
who leapt from the embers of Auntie's fire!
Interpreting the World was simple then.
There were no grey areas.
I was the eternal optimist,
seeing only good in everyone, everything.
Life was one long adventure of discovery,
each day filled with exciting possibilities
that gave me wings to soar high
like a butterfly, towards the Sun.
My needs were minimal then,
just a trusted companion in the form
of a tatty old teddy bear
who shared my amazing expeditions
to far-off, uncharted lands.
We even conquered the outer reaches
of our back garden once, converting its natives
into new found friends.
They were huge furry bumble bees,
humming their hypnotic mantra
from deep inside the laburnum arch.
There were rainbow coloured dragon flies,
bigger than my hand.
The wasps in yellow striped pyjamas,
just like the ones I'd had for my birthday.
The pretty ladybirds and bright green grasshoppers.
There was also a vast array
of assorted flies - black ones, blue and green,
and prettiest of all, the hover flies.
But my ultimate favourites
were the armour-plated woodlice
who lived inside a rotting oak stump.
How I wished with all my might
they could be much much bigger, so I could ride them!
The highlight of my week
was visiting Grandma's house.
Her terraced gardens reached
as far as the eye could see.
Teddy and I spent many an enchanted afternoon
earnestly searching for the fairies
she assured me dwelt amongst her columbines,
and I could swear I actually glimpsed one once!
Those were wonderful times
filled with golden sunlight, and stars
that occasionally fell from Heaven.
I truly believed that I would someday
find one and pick it up,
then every wish, every dream I'd ever had
would surely come true, so life
could stay this magical forever.
So, if every picture tells a story,
what is this one saying about me?
Did this little girl find her fallen star
and hold on to her dreams? Sadly not it seems,
for I have lost her sense of wonder
in everyday things, her simple happiness.
I have grown so complicated.
I am wary, untrusting and cynical.
I suppose, over time, life's betrayals
gradually erode a child's faith in humanity,
distorting it, cancer-like, into an ugly scar
on the surface of her Soul.
Defences then rise up, encircling this wasteland
like fortress walls, preventing further damage.
The trusting child mutates into suspicious adult.
My Spirit is broken today. I have lost my way.
But, maybe there is still a faint glimmer of hope
because, surely, what once was must still be
in some form, somewhere.
Perhaps if I can only find the courage
to unearth this slumbering child
from beneath these heavy layers of disillusionment,
then I could reawaken her in the depths of my heart.
For she is my Destiny.......