I Believe in Playgrounds

I believe in Playgrounds

Entering an imaginary world with dragons, sinking ships, and oceanic floors my sister, Alex, and I would race through the gates of the Putnam Ave Playground. Escaping the sudden shift of our family life, we would journey to a place where only kids were welcome, NO ADULTS! The park was heaven. There was no fighting, no sadness, no change, just my best friend, confidant, and only sibling.

I can remember the freedom of swinging, with the wind rushing through my hair, my stomach dropping like I was on a roller coaster, just awaiting the thud of the pavement beneath my feet. The tire swings provided the perfect boat. The wood chip filled ground the perfect ocean. My sister would suddenly transform into the sea captain, and I the crew member. The boat rocking rapidly back and forth mimicked a terrible hurricane. Fear of being lost at sea was our only concern, the single option: jump ship. Of course, we couldn’t fall into the treacherous ocean. We had to improvise! Suddenly, the boring red slide transformed into a sleek burgundy dragon, and we were rescued. We leapt onto its scaly back and climbed up its jagged surface to the refuge of land.

For hours we would envision different creatures from fairy tales, and dangerous situations causing us to rush to shelter. Our minds were not focused on our home life, but rather the new world we would create. When things were stressful , Al and I would journey to the park. However, remembering these fantasy filled days makes me wonder where my playground is now? Where is my safety zone, sanctuary, and place of escape? As a young adult, I miss the park. Caught up in the rush of work, school, and resume boosting activities, I yearn for the freedom I once felt on the playground. I miss my imagination and careless behavior.

Things are now cast in a different light from when I was a seven year old. I don’t see the slide as a dragon, or the ground as an ocean, but I have come to appreciate other aspects of the park. Walking through the squishy grass filled areas, or swinging until I think I will literally fly over the structure, I take the time to slow down. The park helps me to stay balanced, and not become swept up in the petty stresses of life. It provided a second home for my sister and I, and made those troubling years much more enjoyable. I know that I will always have somewhere to turn to for peace and comfort, and to remember the wonderful memories of childhood. This I believe in the power of playgrounds.

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