It started when I was 6.
Following my fathers footsteps through the marshy grass. 6:30am on the first Sunday morning of Spring. The sun was still hiding, wanting to stay under it’s starry duvet, much like I wanted to do. My thoughts drifted back to the warmth of the cosy little room. My feet had started to go numb through my frog wellies even with the double layer of panda socks.
Dad wouldn’t even give her a hint of what they were doing; he just said “today is the day, I can smell it in the air my little bear”
Little bear, a name that had always been around. Not that I was hairy or feral , it just suited my freckled round face framed and the short brown curls begged for something other than grandma Gilda’s middle name. Mary.
A canvas backpack was slung over dad’s shoulder. It made a chinking sound with each giant stride; reminding me of mum’s 40th birthday last year.
“almost there” he called behind, slowing his pace to let me catch up. Once we got to the gate at the end of the field he placed his backpack on the other side of the wooden posts and proceeded to climb over. It looked unsteady with his weight but there was no opening it, the majority of the main supports were a foot in to the mud.
I hated climbing gates. My sister on the other hand had mastered the art of gate gymnastics last summer. She was constantly trying to come up with creative ways to make from one side to the other.
After an unsteady climb and dad aided jump, we trudged following the stream up to the man made lake created for irrigation. Not sure there was a point of staying a few metres from the water; my feet were drenched.
What if I got trench foot?
We had been learning about that in history; Mrs Kemal said that it was caused by soldiers feet being in wet boots and socks for long amounts of time.
There was a bench up ahead. I wanted these wellies and sodden socks off, now!
There was no way I was having anything cut off, being the least stable on two let alone one leg… I’d be a shit flamingo.
Hoisting myself on to the bench, sliding slightly on the wet moss. A couple of attempts, I was up fighting against the suction the water has created in my wellies. Dad appeared with a bemused look on his face, again I was reminded of Mum’s 40th.
“you don’t want to be taking those off yet bear cub… you’ll need them when we go in” He said signalling with a slight movement of his head.
In front of us was a gathering of trees, their branches dropping like cousin Louis’s hair. I imagined that the trunks were teenagers, trying to hide their faces from the world. The tips hoovered over a small pond, covered in a green slim… looked like pesto.
Dad crouched down and pulled out a glass jar from his backpack, that explains the clinking. He steadily walked over to the pond and began to wade in. Standing shin deep, he bends down to scoop water in to the jar and rises with a knowing smile, while he turns the jar in his hands.
“Grab a jar Little Bear, we have work to do” he announced, placing the jar on the bench next to me. It looked like bubble wrap inside, each pod holding a tiny black dot.
The sun had just started to weave it’s way through trees; beams of light were hitting the glass and making it’s contents sparkle. They looked like glow worms from a book I read last winter, about a girl from Australia and her dog Jonty.
We filled 5 jars that morning while the rest of the village was sleeping or getting ready for church. The thing is it’s not the adventure my dad took me on that morning that stuck in my mind, it’s what happened that evening that was rather extraordinary.
You see as I watched the sun go down from my windowsill, I noticed that one of the jars that had been put in my possession was glowing. Each watery bubble pulsing with a golden energy. Leaning forward, letting my duvet slip away I touched the glass, it was warm and smooth like recently used light bulb.
When I told my family the next morning they didn’t believe me, why would they my imagination normally got the better of me. I was hoping to show them that evening, but when I got back from school my dad had already moved them all to the pond.
They didn’t glow that evening, I watched as the sun set but the water remained dark, not even a glisten.
For years after that I hoped each time we went on that Spring adventure that would be the year I could prove it happened. Sadly it never did and life went on.
Well until a few weeks ago…….