About Me

San Francisco, California
I am Ethan and Chase's Mama and my man's Sugar. I have flown a plane, driven a race car, and been pushed out of a train. I have swum with dolphins, climbed the Untersberg, and thrown tortillas in more than one location. I have great arms and a law degree. I hate housework. I can't iron. I love my dustbuster because I occasionally allow my kids to eat off of the floors. I wish I were taller and for my boys to grow up in a peaceful world.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Excuse me, mama, while I kiss the sky

Parenting in San Francisco definitely has its perks. One of them is the abundance of very cool places to play. Although our urban playgrounds may be bound by metal fences and bordered by busy streets, they tend to have just enough green to soften the city's concrete landscape. Somehow nature creeps in. Ethan and I found ourselves surrounded by natural beauty the other day at the Upper Noe playground.

This playground is new and well attended by kids Ethan's age. It has a sand circle, a play structure with slides of varying heights, and swings. It also has a wild, spinning, Christmas-tree looking thing that Ethan L-O-V-E-S.

The Christmas-tree thing is just a big cone. It has a wide round platform on the bottom with a tall pole stuck through the middle. Spider-webby ropes string up from the outside rim of the platform to the top of the pole. Big kids monkey up the outside of the ropes while the thing is spinning. Little ones like Ethan have to wait for it to stop. Then they crawl through the rope on the bottom and enjoy the circular ride. Sometimes Ethan gets up and runs in the direction opposite of the spin. I think he might knock himself out colliding with another kid or that the centripetal force of the thing will send him shooting out of the ropes. It makes me nervous. So while he's in it I run along outside like a tethered pony in a ring, but not really like a pony because I trip around and around and around sideways so I can be ready to catch Ethan if he actually takes flight. I guess that's more like a galloping crab. With arms. Not only does this look as ridiculous as it sounds, it totally annoys the bigger kids who wish I would get out of the way so they can scrabble off and on at will.

Ethan tried a little bit of everything that day. He spent a few minutes in the swing, just enough time in the sand to ensure gobs of it would later end up in the stroller, and he took a few daring twirls on the Christmas tree until he was too embarrassed by his mother, I'm sure, to continue. He also enjoyed hanging from the monkey bars for as long as my biceps could take it.

Then he took to chasing pigeons. I followed him until he tried to climb under a bench after a bird. At that point I caught him up. I sat down and he stood on my lap, facing me.

Across from us there was a line of eucalyptus trees bordering the playground. They smelled good. As a gentle wind came through they made a lovely rustle. There was a young tree behind us. I don't know what kind of tree it was, but its pliable limbs stretched out close to our heads. Late afternoon sun glimmered between the low, bright green leaves. I imagined I could smell the fresh oxygen coming from the tree - it was like inhaling mountain air.

Ethan seemed to sense my ephemeral drift away from urban playground into the natural. He lifted his face upward, letting the leaves caress his cheeks. He smiled open-mouthed. I could see the sweet pink ridges of his palat and his new round teeth like little pearls budding behind his lip.

He reached his arms to the sides and up, touching the leaves. I held him by his little hips. He glanced down at me as if to say excuse me, mama. Then he tipped back again. He extended up as his whole being expressed while I kiss the sky.

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