When I was young I’d spend long summer days just swinging. I’d close my eyes and imagine if I pumped my legs hard enough I could propel myself into the sky. I’d blink my eyes open and swear the sky looked a little closer.
By Megan Perrero
My solace, my escape, my friend. You were built in the backyard with the hands of my family. You were a constant throughout my childhood and watched me grow. You were there for me through thick and thin. You changed and shifted with age, just as I did. Despite the time passing, I never stopped needing you.
I remember the day you were erected. My whole family came over to help build this oasis for me and my sister. We were too young to help other than bring out lemonade to help compete against the hot sun. And when it was finally done, a spark of joy made its home in my stomach as my parents told me it was safe to play on.
In the years to come I would spend mornings, long afternoons, evenings and nights all with you. When I was young I’d spend long summer days just swinging. I’d close my eyes and imagine if I pumped my legs hard enough I could propel myself into the sky. I’d blink my eyes open and swear the sky looked a little closer.
As I got older you became a different kind of refuge. You were still an escape, but now for me and my thoughts. I remember spending hours listening to music thinking about anything coming to my mind. I’d get so lost in thought I wouldn’t notice the shadows shifting or the smells of dinner wafting from the house. I would only come back to the present when I’d see my mom waving from the window signaling dinner was ready. I’d give you a wistful smile and slowly walk back to the house. I hated that walk.
As I grew older so did you. Your wood weathered and turned an ashy grey. The ropes on the swings started to fray. Yet I didn’t turn away. You beckoned me and again I felt solace with you. But now I wasn’t spending my time just with you. Friends started joining me. You’d listen to us and give us comfort as we laughed, cried and did everything in between. Even as we lost our innocence you reminded us what it meant to let go and just live.
Now there’s an empty place where you once stood. The grass has grown back where your posts were dug in. Gone are your wooden swings, your green slide and your sandbox. What remains are the sweet memories of childhood innocence. Thank you for being my backyard oasis. Thank you for making me feel at home.