Friday, May 24, 2013

"Friday Night Frolic" — Meet Me at the Playground

[An FNF repost—initially published in 2011—because I love these guys, and they know how to usher spring into summer. Memorial Day is for remembering the past, commemorating and thanking our loved ones, and glimpsing into future's shiny possibilities. It's also the time of year that marks the beginning of days that open wide and warm, reminding us that the world is chockfull of beautiful things.]

At the playground, or in the park. Or anywhere the sun's warmth and the cool, breezy air conspire to liberate those heavy burdens tucked in your worn, leather satchel. (Gosh, that arm must be sore.) You might want to swap the satchel for something light, like a crisp canvas tote bag filled with peaches and champagne and a Frisbee. Wear your All Stars. Or your woven slip-on sidewalk surfers. Or flip-flops. Or nothing at all. Bring your felt Indiana Jones hat, or a baseball cap, or a straw fedora, or anything brimmed and easily stolen by the wind.

It's been a long time.

How will I know you? Will you still look the same?

Remember my small Brooklyn Heights apartment on Kane, where I gazed at Lady Liberty from the third floor paint-chipped window? I could walk to the park from there. A long walk. I won't do it like that, though. Not this time. I want to get there quickly. I'll take the subway from Cobble Hill to Prospect Park. (If I can still do that. If it's still there.) Up Flatbush. I always liked the underground surprises along Flatbush.

I'll be waiting for you. At the swings. Adorned in a long, gauzy skirt, white t-shirt, beige linen blazer and crinkle scarf. And flip-flops. We'll spread a colorful, vintage Peruvian blanket under a large singing sycamore, pop the cork and consume fuzzy fruit and bubbly. Our cheeks will blush with spring's lustrous shadegolden rays and mossy, ripening trees, cherry plumaged cardinals and deep blue, blossoming crocuses.

Late afternoon you'll decide to pull the old drum sticks from your tote and bang them against the tin filled with chocolate mouse layer cake. I'll be amazed you've kept them all these years. I'll want to cry, but I won't. The ice cream guy will come by with his cart and you'll buy two vanilla bean ice cream cones, and we'll toss the Frisbee while licking streams of sweet goo racing down the waffled spires, running through our fingers. We'll put thick blades of green grass between our thumbs and blow. If it's not playing on someone's transistor radio we'll still hear music in the air. We might even sing. We might even dance.

Then we'll head over to the playground. Remember how we used to play? Hopscotch or jump rope or the see-saw or monkey bars... You used to dangle from that damned center bar and never let me pass. We'd spin on the little merry-go-round 'til we were dizzy.

Remember some kid almost lost a leg on that spinny thing? We won't do any spinning this time. But we might hop on that little springy frog. We might go for a slide on the big one with bumps in the middle, and jump through recycled tires. (Though we might also need some Dramamine to do it all.)

Or perhaps we'll just sit on the colorful, vintage Peruvian blanket, and eat ripe peaches. And layered cake. And vanilla bean ice cream. And we'll listen to spring's symphony:  birds, swaying trees, the little waterfall, babies on the carousel, and pedal boats on the pond.

And get to know one another again.

When it's silent, in that shared-grin moment, we'll know it's time to pack up our bags. We'll meander past the playground one last time. You'll be whistling. I'll challenge you to a monkey bar duel. But this time, I know you'll let me pass. This time you might even hold my hand. In mid-air. As I pass. Your arm will no longer be sore.

We'll remember that we were always layers of percussion and harmony.

We'll still like each other. A lot.

I'll want you to take the subway back home with me. So we can get there quickly.

Percussion and Harmony.

(And lots more over at Pearl and the Beard. Go visit!)