Fields and Roses

Trees remind me of how I took ‘jump first, think later’ too literally



When I was nine years old, the field behind the coffeeshop we frequented on Sunday afternoons was an endlessly fascinating playground. It had tall, sturdy trees and an abundance of overgrown grass which formed the backdrop for many childhood adventures.

While our parents chatted after lunch, my playmates and I would escape to our field to play. Some days, we were fearless explorers on a jungle expedition (the scratchy grass at our ankles reimagined as man-eating plant species). Other days, we were subjects under the rule of the King of Pigeon Nation (usually one of the boys), who waved a tree-branch sceptre to command his feathered flock.

Once, I was convinced to climb up one of the trees, (thankfully, not too high) then jump down like Tarzan, which I gamely did, only to end up with bruised and bleeding knees and an earful from my mother. Those were the days when ‘jump first, think later’ was my philosophy in life!

Today, both field and tree have been lost to the devouring beast of urban redevelopment. In their place, a new shopping mall marks the passing of time. I know it’s inevitable for our physical spaces to evolve with the times, yet a part of me mourns the loss of my field. It was nondescript in every way, but for the fact that it had become the cradle of my memories.

I like to think that this field is to me, what the rose was to Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Little Prince. As his friend the fox sagely observed, “It is the time you have wasted on your rose that makes your rose so important.” It is the hours I have wasted – running, climbing, laughing, crying – in this field, that made it so important to me.

Sadly, my field no longer exists, but perhaps it’s more special this way; to have its memory tucked away in a corner of my mind, like a secret hideout. If you too, have a ‘field’ or ‘rose’ of your own, I hope you remember the time you wasted on it fondly – and what makes it important to you.

With love, 

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