A Day in the Park: The Playground

December 2, 2009
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From north to south, east to west of this playground kids are running, jumping, skipping, and hopping with great speed, surrounding the covered slide. They play tag. They skip on a hopscotch grid. They hide from one another in a hectic game of hide and seek. The slide is the center of the attention…the base of the playground. Without this marvelous, curvy, genius creation the playground would be nothing but complicating shapes they would climb on. There would be no thrill, no enthusiasm, and no use of coming to the park. Fortunately, the park and its playground are not like this. Instead, when filled with children and families the playground is a tasteful scene of laughter, happiness, and amusement.
In every opening of the playground, children are going in and out, one by one. Different shapes, sizes, colors, and ages. This is the best time of their lives; they have no worries, no responsibilities, and no jobs. They go inside the slide from one end, their faces gleaming with joy and excitement, ready for that little amount of adrenaline. Coming out their eyes filled with pleasure and happiness, but they are disappointed that the feeling is over, that the one moment they were waiting for has ended. At that instant, they think: I will do it again. Again they climb up the steps, making their way to their destination. When they make it to the top, in they go…then slip out of the slide.
As the children want to make the quest to the top of the slide, they progress through several obstacles. Starting from the mountainous stairs their short legs go one foot above to the next platform. Then they approach the monkey bars, throwing one arm in front of the other to grip on to the bar in front of them. Lastly, they arrive at the loose bridge where one step moves the whole overpass. Finally, the children reach the peak, as if they had just climbed Mount Everest. Ready, set, go! Screaming and yelling as they proceed down the slide. They feel the burns and static of the plastic rubbing against their bare arms and legs. Their apparel rise due to the breeze, going upwards, as they go down. When they hit the bottom the sound of two feet hitting the floor is heard…“thump.” A bulky chunk of sand climbs up and into the child’s mouth; the taste of minerals and tiny particles of rock rub against their tongues. “Again, again!” they cry, for the day has just begun.
Once in a while a yelp or a shriek, or a cry for help is heard from across the playground and in alert everyone turns around to see which child it is. At once, the parents sprint to the scene and try to be of assistance. Fortuitously, the damage is not critical, but just a “boo-boo” and generally just some ointment, a scented band-aid, and a kiss did just perfectly. The child gets back up right away. Then they wipe off their tears and continue on as if nothing has happened. Everyone continues as they were before.
Heat and sunlight reflect upon the equipment and attract to all the dark clothing and apparel. Luckily, the slide had a cover to it and no sun or its rays could get into the marvelous roller coaster of turns and hills. Most of the children are wearing visors or hats to protect themselves, while others are covered in sun block and some with both. Still, because of the weather, perspiration comes from the sides of the kids’ faces, the bottom of their foreheads, and in between their armpits. Reeking of this liquid, the children do not notice because they are too distracted of enjoyment, but the adults do. Every so often, the sweat lands in a child’s mouth and the child tastes the salty liquid. In disgust, the child moves to the drinking fountain. After a quick drink and wipe to the forehead, the child returns to the slide and resumes their game or activity.
The sun starting to set, birds are ready to sleep, and traffic is increasing as people are leaving work. The parents are ready to leave, but the kids are not. The adults say good-bye to one another, and pack up their stuff. Yelling to their kids, and cleaning up, they hear silence. “Not again” they say, for this aggravation has occurred every trip to the park. The swings vacant, the jungle gym unoccupied, and the monkey bars isolated. That means there was only one other possible area left to look in: the slide. The slide is a clever place in the playground to hide, for the children could not be seen. Once found, the parents yank their children out and force them to leave. “We will come back next week.” The adults say to the children to make them feel better and cheer them up.
The day has come to an end. No more adrenaline. No more speed. No more excitement. The breeze, the burns, and the cuts could not be felt anymore. The screaming, yelling, and screeching are not heard of. The adults, their strollers, their kids, have all gone…with the enjoyment and pleasure of the park. Isolated and lonely, the playground is nothing without the children that make it special. Without these little youngsters, the playground and park itself are dead. Overall, children bring life and joy to the park, an area in the world that they control and rule. A playground is part of the basis of a child’s past. A playground is a child’s first hang-out area. A playground is a child’s zone to have fun and get away once in a while. A playground is the main setting of someone’s childhood. A playground is every adult’s nostalgic moment.

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