Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Days of Innocence 

At the side of the road stand a boy and a woman I take to be his mother. Set squarely on his head is green school cap; a school bag is slung neatly over his shoulder. Very smart, he probably goes to a private school. He looks up at the woman with a smile that could be expectation, happiness, love – or most likely all three rolled into one – and in that instant, with his face shining in the morning sun, my mind clicks like a camera shutter as I pass by on my motorbike on the way to work, storing the image.

A scene that flashed by and was gone in just a few seconds, but the picture left in my mind is crisp, clear and full of meaning. The embodiment of childhood innocence; he looks as though I could be viewing him through a time warp back to an earlier age, a time before video games, before fashionable trainers; a time when schoolboys wore shorts all year round and had permanently grazed knees; a time of imagination and make-believe and toys that could be mended instead of thrown away and were all the more loved because of it.

Why that scene? Why did something in my subconscious notice and latch onto that image, which was after all off to the side of the road, not amongst the traffic where I was supposed to be looking? The movie of my journey to work would comprise thousands of frames, yet that one scene stood out.

Of course, I may be reading more into the scene than was actually there; all the same, it feels good to be reminded that there are simpler views of the world. Do you remember the time when all that mattered was whether the sun was shining, who would be coming out to play after school, what you were having for dinner? The simplest of things could give pleasure; they still can, given the chance…

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