The Playground: A Microcosm of Childhood

The playground is a microcosm of childhood, where archetypal agonies and ecstasies are revealed through fleeting glimpses . . . Abandonment issues on display: [little girl whimpering] “Mommy, mommy I thought you had left me!” The playground is aswirl with Freudian dynamics, a pageant of trauma and pleasure.

The snake pit of childhood is on full display at the playground. Taunting and teasing and ample coercion; preliminary stabs at exclusivity; the emergence of pecking orders; evidence of impulses to categorize and discriminate . . . Meathead-bully-predator-dirtbag: playground silhouette. Crew cut, sleeveless T-shirt, low-slung pants; the Neanderthal gait and the roving, hungry-cruel eyes.

The paradise of childhood unfolds at the playground . . . Children and pigeons, so fun to watch: a study in juvenile fascination. The endlessly endearing sight of children enjoying things adults would find mundane (or worse). Little girls running around in circles nonstop. Tykes, semi-alone—facing outward, in the subjective cocoon of the stroller—repeating the same word over and over with different inflections. Continual experimentation and the constant thrill of discovery—like no other time in life.

Youth—their image, their presence, their influence in the culture is a constant prod, a ready glimpse of innocence, and a gnawing reminder of times past, desires unfulfilled/never to be fulfilled. The shadow of youth ever looming—especially at the playground.

1 comment:

  1. Adam,

    Those playground photos, and poetry of description are stellar.

    When I was about age 15, I was crazy about this poem by Thomas Gray..."Elegy Written in a Country Graveyard." The narrator is looking across the ajacent fields and sees the children playing in a school-yard being upbraided by a school proctor...while he is contemplating oblivion...and he says..."Let the little victims play."

    You capture "THAT" perfectly!