A Summer Long Since Passed

It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched for they are full of the truthless ideal which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real, they are bruised and wounded. It looks as if they were victims of a conspiracy; for the books they read, ideal by the necessity of selection, and the conversation of their elders, who look back upon the past through a rosy haze of forgetfulness, prepare them for an unreal life. They must discover for themselves that all they have read and all they have been told are lies, lies, lies; and each discovery is another nail driven into the body on the cross of life.
W. Somerst Maugham, Of Human Bondage

Photograph taken in Churwell, Leeds, 2011. There used to be some garages here, that were already in a ruinous state when I was kid, and they have long since been swept away, replaced by weeds and fly-tipped rubbish. You went through the garages to get to the Pit Hills, acres of empty land in which we performed our own subdued versions of Lord Of The Flies and where I experienced many of the small epiphanies that shaped a world view that endures to this day. Even though most of the wild spaces around the village have been buried under tarmac over those fields remain unclaimed and untamed, and I dare say that when they ever do succumb to “progress”, that will be the tombstone on the grave of my childhood.

Virginia Astley – A Summer Long Since Passed


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