The Playground

Today Rosie and I went to our favorite beach. I buckled her in, drove less than a mile from our house through wide open pastures in the shadow of green cliffs, through a tunnel of Rainbow Shower Trees (their real name), and voila, we're at the beach: blue skies, shading palm trees, golden sand and pounding surf on a hot December afternoon.
There was a huge storm last night-- the rain whipped our metal roof and the lightening lit the room. Our dirt road washed away by morning, and some new rocks are poking up through, jostling the car as I drive over them. And the ocean was still frenzied-- 10 and 15 foot waves breaking right on top of each other, pushing up over the lava rocks, and hiss-foaming long up the beach.
Even the little protected baby lagoon water was wobbling with the heavy waves pounding over the break-- round little waveletts rolling quickly up the sand.
We played on the playground. There were triplet boys, about 7, in matching khaki hats and long-sleeved rash guards (the tourist kid uniform), climbing backwards up the slide, hooting and screaming. One said, "Ew, a BABY!!!!" as he shoved past Rosie on the slide. And there was one lanky 10 year old American Indian boy with a deep voice, who shepherded the boys around and climbed quietly over the outside of the set, and exchanged a wry glance with me when the triplets' mom shouted at them. If I was 10 years old, I'd have been smitten.
The playground is a good place to scope out tattoos. Today I saw a full-back First Nations Eagle totem, a full-back World of Warcraft dwarf, a wolf-eagle-feather arm dreamcatcher, and the usual assortment of spikey butterflies on backs, and polynesian patterns stamped around calves and coiling over shoulders and chests. A little girl asked her daddy for a goldfish tattoo. He said, "maybe in Tahiti..." and patted her head.
One heavily tattooed daddy was running across the field with his two little girls, and suddenly stood on his head. Rosie was stunned: Daddy! Stand! Head!!! She watched him until he stood up, balanced his 2 year old on his shoulders, and then flipped her down and did an impressive one-armed bridge and breakdancing spin. He laughed when he saw her staring slack jawed.
I love seeing the tenderness of these young tough daddies, and the gentle sweetness of the hip mommies, rolling their babies down the slides and chasing them around corners.
Tourists make the playground into a giddy sunburnt club. We were there once when the sun went down, and the tourist parents got so lively having tall and wealthy-young-professional conversations (I can't even forge them-- what on earth do they talk about?) that they passed around name brand alcohols and exchanged business cards. When one of them asked me, "So what do YOU do? Or, um, your husband?" I had nothing coherent to say, and stuttered something shrill about maybe agriculture? or um, education? or something? I didn't get anybody's cards and I snuck back to our barbeque.
Today I pried Rosie away from the park by promising that OUR daddy would stand on his head, too. As soon as she was in the carseat, she was asleep, sweaty blond head hanging onto her chest.

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