Sunday, June 29, 2008

Postcards from Shangri-La

The first thing you must do is imagine you are four years old again. Think back to when you had no worries or cares. Picture a time in your life when you could easily do a back bend or jump on a trampoline without peeing your pants or throwing you back out. Now, think, really think about what kind of a place would have been paradise to you at that age.

My son has found his heaven on earth.

Almost thirty years ago, my parents bought a sprawling piece of land from my great-grandmother. After she died, her part of the property was sold and my great-grandfather's shed was drug onto my parents land. Originally, their lot was dotted with peach, cherry and apricot trees, but they have slowly been replaced by more modern landscaping.

The trees that have stayed have grown large and strong. The oak leafs are as large as a man's hand. The walnut drops enough nuts to feed an army of squirrels. These towering oldies afford copious shade for the playground below.

Upon entering my parent's backyard, one is meet with a rock fountain that happily burbles and slops and acts as if it had a personality all it's own. The children are allowed to play freely in the water with no danger. It was designed for small people.
The apple tree down the way proudly bears the weight of the tree house and has graciously grown a perfect branch for a swing. A trampoline is placed nearby making the sour apples available to jumpers during the early season.

As if a child might become board with nothing to do in such a fanciful place, my mother has added an airplane teeter-totter and a large cement pad with unlimited amounts of sidewalk chalk and a menagerie of various bikes.

Nestled in the far right corner of the property are my father's birds. A few years ago, my father placed fourth in the world for his kit of Birmingham Roller Pigeons. You may be asking yourself, what are rolling pigeons, and who would want to raise pigeons, I thought they were kind of like flying rats? Don't. Just go with the fact that he is way into his birds and his enthusiasm has leached into the grandchildren so that participation in feeding time has become an honor.

We will be here in Shangri-La for two whole weeks. There will be lots of Popsicles and sweets, smuggled to the boy on the sly, before meals because my mother has transformed into an entirely strange woman, who indulges children with sugar and sits for hours to play and color with crayons while the wash needs to be done. There will be forts built out of old blankets, and serious meetings held inside addressing things like how many daddy long leg spiders live in the yard and the official rules to kick-the-can. There will be hamburgers and a cherry pit spit contest and fireworks.
I'll keep you posted.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You can make anything sound so magical. I have been in that backyard thousands of time and know what a great backyard it is, but you make it sound like a whole another world I have not been to! I miss that place and the campbell clan who reside there.