Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Summer days

Now when I was a little chap I had a passion for maps. I would look for hours at South America, or Africa, or Australia, and lose myself in all the glories of exploration. At that time there were many blank spaces on the earth, and when I saw one that looked particularly inviting on a map (but they all looked that) I would put my finger on it and say, When I grow up I will go there.

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

When I was growing up, in the settled summer days of the American Midwest, I would cycle nearly the entire day. I might bring a dollar or two - I found that a half pound of potato salad at a convenience store was cheap and filling - and ride through endless stretches of farms.

In those languorous afternoons, I might stop and have a short nap on the grass. But then I'd be up, and riding again. I'd carry two water bottles, and I would ride and ride.

This was a long time ago, and yet I can sometimes go back to those afternoons. Occasionally, when the sun is hot, the road is long and thronged with green, I am that boy again, and the road and the summer day are endless.