Childhood

“There is a place in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.”

Elizabeth Lawrence (Wing Haven Gardens)

My enchanted place is at and around Blakeney, a small fishing village on the North Norfolk coast, where I spent many childhood holidays…

Running barefoot down the long green path. The sun not yet high, the air fresh and salty, the ground still sparkling from the morning dew. Hop-jump. Over the lavenders overflowing the pathway. Hop-jump.  A quick left turn into the secret bit with the tall grass and grasshoppers… hush, don’t tell anyone about it. Shhh… they’ll hear us. Silence… except for the wood pigeons.

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The pebble archway rises above us and beyond it we see the night rolling in over the marshes. Stop!  Look!  A shooting star falls silently through the arch…  Magic.

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The cool mud oozes between our toes, wormcasts everywhere. Horrid, but somehow fascinating… squelch, squelch. We make our way, sandals in hands, across the mudflats towards the fisherman standing next to his small boat. His face is brown and leathery, with laughter lines around his sea-blue eyes. “Make sure you don’t stay too long or we’ll miss the tide” he says, as we clamber out on the sandy point the other side of the channel. “I’ll be waiting for you here.”

And he always was.

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Miles and miles of sand stretch before us. I’ll beat you to the sea, I cry. Flip flops in one hand, bucket in the other, I race to the channel and splash across to the other side and run and run and run… the salty wind and sand in my tangled hair, sand everywhere!

Joy!

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Where is your childhood place?