In a school yard not so far, far away…
PLAY GROUND WARS
Summer Strikes Back
It is a dark time for the school. Even though June is coming to a close, exams and final projects have driven the students from their outdoor play and pursued them back inside the classroom. Evading the studying and the tests, a group of young students, led by the Mosquitos and the Skipping ropes, has established a new secret base in the remote corner of the playground. The evil Report Cards, obsessed with recording marks and final exams, has dispatched dozens of teachers into the far reaches of the school grounds, searching for the students now lost to the Adventures of Summer…
It’s almost too late. The Force is strong.
In a constant battle between cleaning classrooms and extended recess, it’s not only the students who can feel the disturbance. Even the staff fall prey to the seasonal temptations of patio BBQs and work-free evenings.
Meanwhile, the heat breeds sweat and the A/C grows goosebumps, and we’re still sitting with our legs sticking to the seat of the desk. With every moment outside, another baseball lands on the roof and another mosquito attacks a bare patch of skin, until bottles of bug spray litter the grounds next to abandoned ball gloves and skipping ropes.
The possibility of staying focused until the last day of school is approximately 3, 720 to 1.
But we try anyway.
Eventually, the students will give in. “Alright,” they say. “We’ll try.”
“No,” we reply. “Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.”
But with every class it seems like the learned, has become unlearned. What are capitals and periods? Addition and Subtraction? Where do I put my library books? How do I multiply the answer?
In the end, we know that the future lies with Summer: Slithering, sweaty, bug-ridden, but oh-so-free Summer… With iced tea and watermelon and sprinklers and tan lines…. With trampolines and ice cream and play dates and soccer games. It seems a trap.
If only we’d admit to the power of Summer.
If only we’d let the children go free and run for the fields…
But it’s my last day.
And we blow bubbles outside, and watch the wind take them away.
Because it’s a twist of sweet summer lemonade and evil good-byes.
“We’ll miss you,” they chime.
The sweat is trickling down my neck, as I swat another mosquito.
I hug them, awkwardly, all at once.
“Me too, kids. Me too.”