I ran, played hide-and-seek, caught fireflies, scaled trees, picked apples and peaches straight off the tree, launched pits from slingshots, and danced in the sprinkles here.
There is something very poignant about empty playgrounds. They are lost spaces where you can almost hear the distant laughter and echo of children playing. They bring back happy memories from the days of innocence, simple joys of swings and slides, and playing cowboys and Indians. The times of great discoveries and constant wonderment, when everything had a pinch of magic in it.
How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside —
Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown —
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!
Robert Louis Stevenson
You know, I do believe in magic. I was born and raised in a magic time, in a magic town, among magicians. Oh, most everybody else didn’t realize we lived in that web of magic, connected by silver filaments of chance and circumstance. But I knew it all along. When I was twelve years old, the world was my magic lantern, and by its green spirit glow I saw the past, the present and into the future. You probably did too; you just don’t recall it. See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.
After you go so far away from it, though, you can’t really get it back. You can have seconds of it. Just seconds of knowing and remembering. When people get weepy at movies, it’s because in that dark theater the golden pool of magic is touched, just briefly. Then they come out into the hard sun of logic and reason again and it dries up, and they’re left feeling a little heartsad and not knowing why. When a song stirs a memory, when motes of dust turning in a shaft of light takes your attention from the world, when you listen to a train passing on a track at night in the distance and wonder where it might be going, you step beyond who you are and where you are. For the briefest of instants, you have stepped into the magic realm.
Robert R. McCammon
The truth of life is that every year we get farther away from the essence that is born within us. We get shouldered with burdens, some of them good, some of them not so good. Things happen to us. People lose their way, for one reason or another. It’s not hard to do, in this world of crazy mazes. Life itself does its best to take that memory of magic away from us. You don’t know it’s happening until one day you feel you’ve lost something but you’re not sure what it is. It just happens.
Robert R. McCammon
The memories of childhood and who I was when I believed in magic stay with me. They are an essential part of me that still believes. I need those memories to remind me that butterflies are still beautiful, and flowers give out the most intoxicating fragrance, and the first snowflakes are like fairy dust. The soft pitter patter of rain sounds like a soothing piano song, and the sea sings a song of love and longing.
In summer I am very glad
We children are so small,
For we can see a thousand things
That men can’t see at all.
They don’t know much about the moss
And all the stones they pass:
They never lie and play among
The forests in the grass:
They walk about a long way off;
And, when we’re at the sea,
Let father stoop as best he can
He can’t find things like me.
But, when the snow is on the ground
And all the puddles freeze,
I wish that I were very tall,
High up above the trees.
We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw