The children are playing games that we will never understand.
Nobody's hiding and nobody's seeking. And over in a shady
corner of the field there's a stockpile of toy guns gathering
dust. The jungle gym is vacant and the swings are swaying
in the breeze. No rope jumping or hop scotching. Nobody
is 'it'...and they're not choosing sides. They don't know
they're breaking the rules. Their laughter is all they know.
The adults are concerned with their behavior, yelling
instructions from an area they don't realize has been marked
as out of bounds -- kept at bay by a chain-linked fence.
The children pay them no mind. They dance and weave their
way through a land of kind-hearted mischief. Holding hands
and singing made up songs, with words that can not be
translated beyond their safe border. Casting a spell against
the weight of the world. Squeezing every second out of the day.
It doesn't take long for a darkly clad fellow to show up with
a set of bolt cutters. Slicing away at the day...bringing
all this merrymaking to a sudden halt. Strangers with
ill-conceived schemes are lurking about. The playground
has become overrun with whistle-blowing matrons. It's time
to run along home -- if you know what's good for you.
The song comes to an end. But you never did get the tune
out of your head.
Browsing through an old collection of LPs. Vinyl memories
that rush by in a dizzying array of leather clad poses.
All those Saturday night forays into wild-eyed discovery.
Never realizing how carefully you kept the places of your
life warm. Feeling no particular need to attend to whatever
set of horrifying duties are calling for your attention.
The bills will get paid. The laundry will get done. The
television has earned a night off. You've got gas in the
rusting pickup parked out back and the jacket might be a
little tight but you're on a head-on collision with time
and you'll something to help absorb the impact.
Feel the engine turn as you pop in a randomly chosen cassette
from the carelessly thrown collection on the dash. Surprised
that it still sounds so good. One thing they've never seemed
to master in this age of technological advance...how to recreate
that perfectly worn feel. But we all know how hard they try.
Doing their best to sell our past back to us. Re-packaged with
rewritten liner notes. Testing how far that wool can be pulled.
Cashing in on something they'll never understand. Can't blame
them really. Just doing their job.
Pulling one hand off the wheel and reaching into your jacket
pocket. Feeling the crumpled wrapper of an old pack of
Chesterfields. Popping one into your mouth and smashing
down that cigarette lighter. Waiting for it to pop as you
weave through the back roads of your youth. Yeah, save
those warning signs for somebody who hasn't traveled
these parts. A thousand times. Taking that hair-pin curve
for all its worth and gunning it in one of those perfect
'all-clear' realizations. Firing up as you head into the
wide expanse of an empty lane. Remembering the words of your
Grandfather...smoke 'em if you got 'em.
And for the first time in a long time you're speeding down
a path with no sense of escape. You're just picking up
where you left off a long time ago. And you wonder why you've
been moving so fast all these years...rushing for destinations
that always disappeared just within reach.
Humming along with the tune coming through the side door
speakers. Piping in with the chorus. Just like riding a
bicycle... Making a note to stop by the old five and dime
to pick up a pack of baseball cards -- something to stick
in the spokes of this relentless spinning wheel.
~ ~ ~
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