Finding the secret tunnel

In the playground at my junior school, there were a number of brick, concrete roofed air raid shelters. The old doorways had long been bricked up, but at one of the bricked up entrances, a few of the bricks were missing at the top. I can remember clearly the heady mix of fear and excitement as the boys hoisted me up, in my short summer dress, and I squeezed myself through the opening, and scrambled down the pile of rubble behind into the darkness.

"Whatever possessed me?" I think now. But we'd decided this was the entrance to a secret tunnel; no one was sure where the tunnel led to, but we knew it led to somewhere special. There was a prize to be obtained by overcoming fear.

We never found the tunnel, of course. And we weren't caught. Children's lives were far less "supervised", and I'm sure we put ourselves in danger far more often. Much of our best exploration took place as a result of this benign neglect.

Still, I've been thinking about the secret tunnel. A tunnel that leads to a place of wonder. It's the mainstay of many a story. The character's in the story always have to overcome their fear to enter the tunnel.

And likewise - to enter the tunnel called "change". There's fear, and excitement when you start looking for the tunnel entrance. It's not as easy now for the excitement to get the upper hand over the fear - we are our own fearful adults, looking over out shoulders.

 I want to find that brave eight year old, with her skinny brown legs , and  her hopeful heart,and ask her to come with me, looking for the tunnel.


  1. The daring we felt as children! They are still there, those brave little girls . . . in both of us!


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