today, while babysitting these two little angels called gracie and will, we decided to break from the pool and cool off in the shade of the park next door. we packed up our snacks and towels and toys and bid adieu to the lifeguards (some of whom are my oldest friends), and re-setup shop in the gazebo next to the swingset. but something felt different.
i remember playing at the park as a child. fifteen minutes felt like an hour, an hour felt like fifteen minutes, and i never wanted to go home. there was a swingset of six, and my favorite was the second on your right, my left, and just beyond it was a large maple tree. i remember my friends daring me to swing higher. you can touch your feet to the treetops! push, push! and i took the dare. the sometimes green, sometimes auburn leaves tickles my toes as they brushed against each other, and the wind blew against my face, undoing my hair.
but this time, it was gone.
in fact, two or three trees were gone, i realized. the shade wasn't shady anymore, but instead, the sun shone imposingly from up above us, causing will's cheeks to grow hot. and i understood (as i have so many times before) that the saying is true: you never know what you have until it's gone.
so i swung in the sunlight and sang baby will to sleep, and watched gracie as she disappeared in and out of the house, and i replayed all the memories that i made eight-to-ten years ago when everyone said that you can touch your feet to the treetops. just push a little harder.