Out for my lunchtime walk on Friday, I pass a local junior school and through gaps in the perimeter bushes, I see flashes of the end-of-year festivities. Rounders on the playing field, cries of “Catch it” and “Well done, Jake…”.
And as with a short blast from an old song, I am carried back decades in an instant. The waiting in line to bat, hopping around in the field because your time for standing still is still 30 years off. The looming holiday thrill of what grown-ups call ‘six weeks’ and what a child would call ‘infinity’, if he only knew the word.
Some of those voices I hear will shout in new fields, come September, where the kids are bigger, the work is harder and life’s expectations of them will begin to move into focus.
Before they know it, playground games for them, too, will be just a snatch of glee they hear while escaping the office for a lunchtime stroll. They will discover how distance taints even the happiest memories with sadness, as what was your life feels increasingly like it was someone else’s.
And yet there will still be youngsters on the field. Life’s wheel beginning another turn.
Rounders suddenly seems highly appropriate.