At the end of the forest, or at the beginning depending on where you start, is a lovely little playground. It was empty when we arrived a few nights ago, a weekday shortly after suppertime. We stopped our bikes and looked at the swings.

“I’m just going to go on the swings for a minute.”
“Me, too. That’s why I stopped here.”

It’s easy to fly in a swing and I laughed when I reached the point where, twenty years ago, I would have jumped off when the school bell rang. Jumped, dusted myself off, and run across the yard.

“Jump off?”
“Not anymore!”
“Yeah, I think I’d break.”

Laughing, kicking heels in the woodchips to slow the swing and then spinning, first one way and then the other as the chains unwound and wound again.

“I know. I didn’t used to feel dizzy.”

Head tipped all the way back.

“To think I used to do flips on the swings.”
“Try it!”
“No way!”

We watched the trees, looking up at canopies of leaves. Watched the sky, slowly darkening.

“Nice to know that all the school games were the same.”
“I was just thinking that.”

We got back on our bikes, left the forest. The air had changed, growing cooler. Summer ending and fall beginning. We’re often in the forest (“Want to go hug some trees?”) and the swings are not far away.

Lovely to know, indeed.

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. – George Bernard Shaw

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