The parable of our playground-A A +A
Monday, January 28, 2013
EVERYDAY is for kids. And so are the playgrounds.
In our tyrone years, our own spot under the sun- our playground in Pines Park, La Trinidad- was our happiest place on earth. It was, even though overlooking it was the White House, the haunted house. It was our Burnham Park on non-Burnham weekends.
The grass stalks there were our toothpicks as we watched the grasshoppers as numerous as the white butterflies. It was a forest of green short grass smiling at the bluest zenith. On some lucky days, the greenery will be mottled by some shiny specks- a peso or fifty centavos or twenty-five centavos- falling from someone’s bursting pocket.
There, we used to play soccer baseball, volleyball, shatong, friz bee, basketball, volleyball, touch the body, out-catcher, tumbang preso, and all games. Occasionally it’s a venue for tayaw, bonfires on Christmas and New Year’s. Wide it was, our palsiit-slingshot practices were done there. We aimed at house sparrows perched on the electric posts or wires without fear of hitting a glass window. Once, it was even our practice range for air guns. We aligned some tin cans against the cement walls of a neighbor and hit the milk cans one by one.
We shared it with horses and cows too. At times they won the space, for our cowardice to face a horse’s kick or the cow’s horns. Nanay Perez would egg on us to get horse and cow dung or scoop some loam from our playground for her plots in exchange for a few centavos. When we, kids, weren’t frisking there, the neophyte drivers would haul their big toys and sharpen their driving skills at our playground.
A lake during rainy season, it becomes the bane of our black leather shoes or white rubber shoes when rains subside and mud splatters around our playground. Puddles, where tadpoles and frogs thrive, are the mainstay during this wet season. The playground naturally transforms into a whole biology lab for the lifecycle of the frog- from eggs appearing as siopao-like foamy lumps sticking to some weeds to the fist-sized bull frogs croaking loudly at night.
The playground’s hillside becomes a transient abode of the bees as rainy season winds up and the yellow colors emanate from the beaming sunflowers abloom. It’s a gift from God that leaves every kid smitten by its breadth and space for play.
In time, the beauty of this land was colonized by structures we dub houses, and by more houses that hide the horizon and mountain ranges surrounding the valley. No more playgrounds entice children to its soft grass or its natural mounds of hard soil we used as bean couches. But it still is space for tots and kids.
A shack where tots converge, the Pines Park Daycare, now stands where my strongest kick in a soccer-baseball game then brought the ball to. And inside a choicest spot in each house that colonized our playground stands a crib where an angelic baby sleeping cozily lies. The fathers and mothers watching us as community kids having fun till supper was prepared in our respective dining tables are now grandparents rearing the next generation of children, minus the wide playground of before.
Playmates from the De Mesa, Capistrano, Puntawe, Villanueva, Perez, Alanzalon, and Ombrosa families and Moran, Camado, Mencion, Suanding, Piok, and Basatan cousins had our memorable kiddie summers there.
From a widest playground to a parcel for cradle of cribs, this land has done well in giving joy to children. This land, among God’s choicest gifts, is forever for the children, for the youth.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 29, 2013.