Sunday, June 5, 2011

The last of the old playground

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving (1997), I stood on the hill behind Pastor B--'s house, near the TV tower. Form this vantage point, I could see most all of Elizabethtown, from Groff Avenue to the new Foxbury development, and far out past route 283. When I was a boy at the Childrens' Home, this view was obscured by the forest, but no longer. I felt as if I were in a calm, untroubled place, far away from the day to day worries of life. how I wished I could stay here forever, observing, but not participating....with no more close, entangling concerns.

Then, suddenly, from far below, my son Brendan called to me, saying, "Come down here, Daddy. Let's follow these tracks!" I looked down upon the old playground behind the S-- Homes. There I saw huge piles of earth, like mountains striving to reach up to me on the heights. And there were many tracks, made by the backhoes and bulldozers, going in all directions. I did not want to go down, but for Brendan's sake I did. We followed many tracks, and looked for treasures which might be hidden in the mud. So many children had played and had fun in this place.... There was no pleasant view down here, just a rocky, muddy waste land. Soon we found that the tracks went nowhere, and the mountains, which seemed so solid from a distance, would not hold our weight. How I longed for my former place on the hill.

Finally, I accepted that we had to leave this place. I called to Brendan, but he was far away. Knowing that I would better be able to find him if I were on the hill, I began my ascent alone. At last, after a steep climb, I had returned to my place, and my all-inclusive view was restored. I saw Brendan in the distance. When I called to him, he came running, a happy child running free over that space as others had in their time. He wanted to climb up as soon as possible to be with me and share what he had seen. Together then, we talked and looked out over where we had been exploring, then far out over the roof tops of Elizabethtown.

Our Playground, c.1950-1997, R.I.P.

1 comment:

  1. a sad goodby to a place haunted with the laughter of many children