As a child, the areas around my neighborhood were dotted with bomb-sites.
Craters, rubble, and burgeoning plant-life. Insects. Birds. Shrapnel. A few scruffy boys, like me, out foraging. â€œFrequent Electric Trains, To And From London”, rumbled by, high up, on the blue-brick embankment. Even the odd, unadorned, grey/brown steam locomotive.
A world apart, only meters from the “real” world.
But there were no adults, and so this no-manâ€™s land was almost solely mine.
I captured a bright black and yellow fly, once, and raced home with it, to show mummy, screaming at the sudden pain, for no one had yet told me about wasps. It got me, right under the fingernail.
Oh man, that hurt!
But no amount of stings, bruises, cuts or dog-bites could deter me. I became quite au-fait with discomfort. Which is one of the few really good things about being young.
I had the worldâ€™s worst tricycle. Salvaged, I suppose, from a dump. Every few revolutions of the pedals, the cotter-pin would rip another chunk out of my ankle bone. Yowww! More discomfort. I probably pedaled that thing all the way around the earth. Punctuated by pain, blood, and bits of ankle.
You wonâ€™t find many adults doing things that hurt, things that threaten, things that lack convenience and comfort. Which is one of the really bad things about no longer being young.
So it is as well, sometimes, in later years, to fall off ladders, slice hands with hatchets, plug oneself into wall-sockets, etc. It still hurts, but it serves to remind of those times when the hurt did not deter; did not lock one out of the real world of uncertain outcomes and inconvenient consequences.
Ideas are a bit like this. With age, we seek agreement. We prefer what we already know. The ideas we already have, we wish others to reinforce. To validate. For comfortâ€™s sake.
What about all those things we donâ€™t yet know? Havenâ€™t yet arrived at? Had never been able to see? What about them?
What about them?