Thursday, September 1, 2011

The hay ride

When I was 14 we lived for one winter in Conquest, a small town in Saskatchewan. I played hockey with the senior team which went to Milden and Dinsmore and Outlook in a league of sorts. The team was composed of big children and adults, of whom a few were a bit skillful. Those of us without transport; the young; accompanied by a few girls, traveled in a truck with a covered box filled with hay and entered by the grain chute at the back. It was cosy and warm and dark with the packed bodies and the smells. There was sensuality to it all that at 14 we could not identify, but knew it was there. There was no rolling in the hay in those days but there was an ill defined excitement for me from the presence of Lily-Mae, a pretty, lanky, snub nosed, freckled,longhaired fan that had come to cheer. Just dream on! We were away from the restraints of school and parents and at close quarters. I was too rapt up in myself at that time to have the energy to foster a relationship. My experience of hay rides was finished that spring until I was 21 and met the pianist for the first time on a hay ride in Winnipeg. This was a party organized by the student nurses. This time the rack was horse drawn and cold so you bundled up and huddled together to keep warm and hear one another through the din. This leads to a "close for comfort" that casts off the restraint and awkwardness that formality or contrivance brings. The excitement this time was less ill defined for me. She was beautiful and fun and I was ready to put some energy into someone other than myself. I don't know what it is about hay,or dark, or cold, or simple pleasures, but I know that the closer you need to be, the closer you will become. There may be something primordial and concupiscent about the influence of hay! It is the stuff of legends!

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