The grownups worried about those other four seasons, Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall, but, for a boy growing up beside Pensacola Bay in the 1950's, there was only one season that mattered.
The picture? One I took from the beach near my home. It was a one minute walk to Pensacola Bay back then, but, you can't get near the water now unless you buy one of the homes which have been built there.
A Boy's Season
It was not on any calendar
But there was a boy's season.
It was a time for plump blackberries,
Picked and eaten, unwashed, while on the move,
The wind and waves providing the beat,
The Sun the heat,
As a boy's life moved beside,
The roar and crash of air and surf,
And the calls of unseen birds.
It was the time for bare feet on hot sand,
And a sidekick
A crazy Irish Setter named Sean,
Following a trail with his head
Stuck beneath the water,
Tracking a retreating crab who,
I am sure,
Thought aliens had landed.
A time for thoughtless boys with BB guns
And hapless birds and lizards,
Who never returned home
In those days
Before responsibility was learned,
And life fully understood.
It was a time for trying original sins,
And lying about them,
To parents...and one another.
It was the time to sit
Swaying in a tree near the beach
Debating knowledgeably about
The relative merits of
Camels, Lucky Strikes, Winstons, Marlboros
...And the ones with menthol
Which would freeze your lungs...
As we watched sailboats coast
Across an impossibly blue bay.
It was a time to wade carefully
Along the edge of old warehouse piers
Which poked in a line above the water
Looking like the blackened stumps of teeth
Of some unknown beast,
Placing one foot carefully at a time
Checking the shallow water for sign
Of a stingray hiding beneath the sand
Waiting to whip its barb into flesh
Causing pain as yet unknown or understood.
We waded towards the channel dredged
For boats moored beside the bayou bridge
In hopes of catching the biggest catfish ever!
It was the hunt that counted,
The adventure not the end.
That's all that really matters
When it's a boy's season.
by Donovan Baldwin
Jun 29, 2013
Email The Author