Wednesday, October 27, 2021


FINAL WEEKLY SCRIBBLING #93  We're asked to write of a special childhood activity, something we especially enjoyed.  Many things came to mind, but evening bicycle rides clung to my memory.  Submitted to Poets & Storytellers United, October 27, 2021



In my childhood world, the vast agrarian space of central Illinois was divided in exact mile squares, each comprising 640 acres of  rich black soil, and divided into tidy little homesteads, each with a house, a barn, a corn crib and perhaps a small shed for chickens.  There were only five such homes along the roadside of our mile square, and between them just the vastness of Illinois prairie.   One of my favorite pastimes was a bicycle ride around our square mile just at dusk.  The only sound was that of my bicycle wheels on the gravel road, and the occasional trill of a meadowlark or red-winged blackbird in the fencerows.  The most perfect rides were just after the alfalfa and sweet clover had been cut to dry and be baled for feed for livestock during winter.  The scent of new mown hay is intoxicating and unparalleled.  No perfumer has ever been able to recreate it.  I dreamed great things on those solitary rides in the innocence of my childhood.  How I wish I could reproduce those magic rides.  



  1. I wish I had learned to ride a bike when I was younger. Of course, there's very little stopping me from learning to ride now.

  2. Dear Bev, I love that we share similar Illinois childhoods. I can still imagine the fragrance of fresh cut hay, corn fresh off the cob, tomatoes plucked from their vines. This is a lovely piece of prose.

  3. Hi Bev, this would be my sister's post, somewhat mine. I love the way you told it, very interesting. Our square mile was divided into four 160 acre farms. Dad's had a corner of his square cutoff and attached to the neighbor's so it was only 120 Acres. That with feeding most of the crops to the animals and chickens it supported the four of us. We had a correction line near in order to correct for the curvature of the earth. We had a larger garden and a slightly larger potato patch.
    I shared my bike with my sister, it was a girls bike Dad ordered from Sears in 1938 when sis was born. We couldn't ride the road, but our two lanes were 1/8 mile each. We mostly walked to school, eight of us, four of us were cousins.
    School photo here for the pasting:

  4. How idyllic it sounds!

    But I grew up among hills, mountains, fast streams, and the ocean not far away. One of my friends in adult life grew up in the plains country in Australia,loved it as you did yours, and wrote many fine poems about it. But when I at 15 was transported to live in the flat lands, I nearly went mad with deprivation. We are so shaped by where we are born, aren't we?

  5. I lived in Illinois--Bloomington-Normal, IL--for a few years and I loved the place. I remember the after harvest scent and completely agree with you. It was delicious. I didn't go bike riding but I used to run 5 miles every day and 13 miles at the end of each month. Running next to the fields was a joy. I remember doing a lot of story plotting in those runs. Your powerful descriptions made me long for those days...

    1. It's me again, copycatting your strategy and coming back to respond to the question you left on my post: I went to ISU for graduate school. I loved Bloomington so much. I miss it... And yes, your descriptions conjured wonderfully vivid memories.

  6. Enjoyed this write-up like anything. Hamlet memories always take one to a stage of pleasure. In our areas the new mowed paddy-hay and hay stack are alluring things. Nice.

  7. Never did get the hang of that. Cannot ride a bike up to today. Bravo to you


  8. Freshly cut hay does smell wonderful. I rode a bicycle, but had to push it a lot too, as probably half the neighborhood was hills too steep to pedal up. And too steep to ride down! I like riding them. We have a bike trail that goes for miles, but it isn't the safest place anymore. I enjoyed your memories.

  9. I feel very fortunate to smell fresh cut hay each summer, listening to each of my bird friends. My first memories of a red-winged blackbird were at my grandparent's farm. On a dusty gravel road...
    Thanks for bringing back those memories, Beverly.