School’s out today for the next couple of months. No more national anthem wafting across the park every morning at 8:45. No more a.m. and p.m. traffic as parents drop off and pick up their littles. No more playground noises, of tether ball chains against poles, kick ball, swings squeaking, girls screeching, boys in mock battles, girls piled up in little cliques like so many fall leaves blown into a pile.
Ah, the summer freedom of children.
Months stretch out before them in a vast sweeping prairie of waving grasses, unexplored trails, toes in cold streams, popsicles dripping, and entire days spent swimming.
Oh wait, that was my childhood. Do kids still do that?
There’s still a sense of freedom, but I get the feeling that it’s only a pale shadow of the freedom I enjoyed.
I took off running by ten every morning to my best friend’s house. From there the two of us would race to the park, with its open grass fields, a swampy tadpole pond, a meandering creek, a cottonwood tree-filled valley, ivy covered hills, rusty barbed wire fence lines. We spent most of the day there roaming, dreaming, romping, hiding, in imaginary wars with other kids who also played there.
Not an adult in sight. Can you imagine it?
It was a different world. An innocent time. A protected, sweet existence.
A small pocket of pure perfection.