Monday 28 May 2012

Childhood Delight

Many of us have childhood memories of endless hot weather where real time seemed to come to a halt, replaced by a repeating cycle of swimming in the sea, getting sand between the toes, smelling cut grass, listening to bees buzzing among the flowers and lying in long meadow-grass hidden from view.

This weekend I experience all those things and, though in adulthood you can never quite avoid the reality check that bad weather and the need to go to work are around the corner, nevertheless you can at least recollect, even momentarily re-experience, that feeling of timelessness which accords a kind of immortality.

It is important to make these connections with childhood and resist the sad and self-denying idea that "you are not the person you were then". Because you are! And it is important to stay in touch with that childhood delight in life.

Art too demonstrates how the landscape and hot weather can oddly halt time or strangely unite it. Conventionally you could point to many paintings of the Romantic movement but actually one of my favourite examples is the opening scene from the Powell Pressburger film "A Canterbury Tale" (1944) where the timeless countryside unites the 14th century seamlessly but dramatically with the 20th just through the expedient of looking upwards - you can see it here (about 3.5 minutes in if you are in a hurry). Clever war-time propaganda too because it reinforces incredulity that all this could come to an end under the Nazi jackboot.