Have you ever dreamed, as a child, of waking up in the morning, throwing back your bed covers and leaping with a bound out of bed, hastily pulling on some clothes and dashing out the door with hardly a backward glance at your mother’s “Where are you going?”… and running across a field just as the warm glow of sunrise is topping the trees on the horison, to go and say hello to your pony? Or pushing your feet into some track shoes and running through the orchards of dripping trees, following the waving flag of your collie dog’s tail as it streams ahead of you ?
Or slipping silently as a shadow into the hen house, feeling in the nesting boxes for a still-warm egg?
Or hugging an orphaned lamb, its fuzzy woollen peppercorns scratchy against your arms as it curls its lip and wriggles its tail in expectation of the milk in the glass cooldrink bottle with rubber teat, the one that was taken from a row of bottles filled with sterilizing solution sitting on the kitchen window sill and my goodness, was it difficult to get that tough teat over the thick glass lip…….!
What about hearing the dainty cheeps of fluffy yellow ducklings all smiling as they waddle their tiny bodies after Mama Duck to the pond, and sink down onto the water like paper boats with mini webbed feet paddling….?
Or walking into the milking parlour with the wet-washed floor and gentle hum of milking machine, while placid cows re-munch their lunch and yield copious litres of fresh-smelling milk? Have you dreamed of touching and stroking a cow, and looking into her large, liquid eyes (if she is a Jersey, her eyes will be especially so) and even having a conversation with her (“Good morning Buttercup, how well you look today! Who styled your little top-knot this morning?”)?
Have you dreamed of standing shin deep in cool flowing water of a dark stream as you flick your line with its darting fly to tempt that elusive trout, the only sound being the whhsssssk of the singing line and happy chatter of birds hidden in foliage, in the shade of which you’ve left your sandwiches and apples ?
Did you dream of a kitchen with scrubbed tables and the smell of baking bread and brewing coffee, and scones in the wood-burning stove and rusks in a tin and dripping apricot jam or orange marmalade, and a pot-au-feu quietly blipping away on the back burner, emitting warmly delicious smells that make your tummy growl….a block of butter on a marble slab….a fat hunk of cheese and a crusty loaf. Tea perfectly brewed in a beautiful pot. Real milk. Fresh eggs with hand-written dates on them. Addressed envelopes propped on the dresser, containing letters written by hand to family and friends, waiting to be taken to a post box in town.
The sound of a telephone a rare but welcome intrusion, as it would more than likely carry the voice of a loved person into the home, with news eagerly received.
Do our children have a pony, a dog, a hen, or a duck ? Do they drink real milk ? Have they ever touched a cow, or a lamb?
Are they allowed to eat jam? May they eat bread? If they knew where an egg came from, would they still want to eat it? May they wander off by themselves, to go fishing in a stream? Can they compose a letter? Do they know the joy of receiving a card or a parcel that arrived in the mail? Do they know how to have a conversation on a telephone?
Do we dream of such a life……or are we living it….. For surely this is wealth beyond words.