Yesterday as the sun still shone in the west, right before it was about to set, and dinner was still a decision and not in the making, I headed to the nearby park with my fiance, my sister, my brother-in-law married to my other sister, and all of my nieces.
We spent time playing sailors and sharks until the three year old’s imagination became too vivid and she was nearly crying that she didn’t wan’t to play that game anymore. The other two were shrieking in laughter as my sister “chomped” at their feet with her hands.
Then we all took turns showing off our gymnastic stunts. To the surprise of my brother-in-law my sister and I could still do cartwheels and rounds offs and I even worked on my back walk over and front handspring, the soft muddy grass giving some and working as the perfect gymnastics mat. I explained that muscle memory is the only way I’m able to still “perform” such acts, that getting kids into dance class or gymnastics is really a great thing because then they can do party tricks years later and impress random people at house warming parties.
My fiance tried a cartwheel for the first time, based on his observations of my sister and I. Somehow he put a front handspring, round off, and cartwheel together and I was afraid he would hurt himself, but there is no way I’m spotting a 6’3″ man as he’s running around flinging himself at the ground with his sneakers still on. (Thankfully, he managed to land somewhat on his feet.) The next morning my sister woke up complaining that she was too old for such stunts and had twisted her knee. I’m allowed to deign from feeling pity for her because I’m 18 months older, I did more tricks than she, and I’m not even a bit sore today.
Yoga people. Gymnastics when you are young. Party tricks in your twenties. And then yoga.
But by far my favorite thing we did yesterday at the park was swinging. I sat there watching my feet touch the clouds and I remembered how my aunt taught me how to swing when I was about three years old. We were at the old park near my grandmother’s house in her one stop light village (it didn’t even rate as a town) where the teeter totters were made of wood and painted green. The same green as everyone’s trim on that street and I always just assumed it was left over from when the neighborhood paint person went down the street with a paint brush and unified the block. My aunt has colon cancer now, stage four, so my thoughts of her are bitter sweet, because she can’t swing anymore. I sat there swinging for her, just a little bit longer.