Mud came into my life in an intimate and personal way when I was very young. I think I was three. At least it was before my sister was big enough to play with me and by the time I was four, she was two and we could play. I was the first child, so there was no one else around. We lived on a farm with only two houses in view, a neighbor and my grandparents. There was no one else to play with.
On this warm day, I was barefoot, so it had to have been in summer. My mother would not have let me go barefoot any other time. Did I take my shoes and socks off this time? I don’t know. That is not part of the memory.
It had rained a day or two before. Having been kept in because of the rain was very probably the reason I was outside. The ground was dry, but puddles of water remained. There were two puddles of particular interest. They were on each side of the driveway where it met the road. Cars turned in (or out) at those spots, but there was no gravel there. I was simply interested in the water: walking in the water. And I did.
I was cautious at first. Walking in water was not (yet) a normal experience. I don’t remember if I spashed (what little boy doesn’t?), but I do remember the edge of the water, just past the water, where there was only mud.
Mud was a curious thing. It looked like solid land, but was not. My feet sank into it. THAT was very interesting! I was so inexperienced in walking in water or mud, that I looked down at my feet. The mud certainly felt different from being in shoes and socks, and different from grass. I clearly, vivedly remember looking at my feet as I stepped slowly, deliberately into the mud. This mud oozed up between my toes! WOW!!! I’d never seen that happen before! I could feel the ooze and watch it rise. This was a most fascinating thing.
I don’t know how long I stayed in the puddle. I don’t know how much I walked around in that awesome and amazing ooze, but the image of that soft black mud oozing up between my little white toes is one that I’ve never forgotten.
Oh, how I wish I could still be so easily amazed at such a simple little thing as the oozing of that mud!