From here I can see the open fields behind the elementary school. Behind me the covered pavilion with tables, the little country church, the library, the elementary school, new playground and the smaller sport fields surround me. I am back on my favorite bench under the oak trees; the bench I did not realize was a favorite until tonight.
The game is well-under way by now under the bright field lights. The kids’ games are during the day, but the Over 35 Lacrosse league claims the fields on weekend nights. Two teams of middle-aged men in either black or white jerseys wage a battle across the close-cropped grass. The physicality of their play shocks me, off the field they are so mild mannered. Their bodies crash into each other, aluminum sticks clanking at impact. A long-stick defenseman pushes off the attack and the white ball sails down the field. The goalie surely has the last beams of the sun in his eyes, but his form looks intently focused on the action. For once the big boys are having fun on the fields.
The baseball diamond directly below me is deserted tonight. This is not a surprise in September; it has been deserted for months. In the next field a lacrosse game rages. The individual shouts of instruction and encouragement are indistinguishable from my vantage point as the voices mingle to form a small roar.
Three little girls I don’t recognize are playing together, sent along to make sure their fathers come home soon after the game. The leader of the group has long blonde hair with a clip securing the wisps out of her face. She is zipped up in an aquamarine sweatshirt, too thin for tonight’s chilly air. The next girl is taller than her friends, but eager to follow through with the leader’s ideas. Her light brown hair falls to the shoulder of her open purple jacket with last winter’s ski-pass still dangling from the zipper. Her bright pink bottoms are easy to spot even as the sun goes down. The last child wears a red t-shirt with a glitter decal with a small fuzzy coat. They are all three in sneakers, ready to run and play.
Mostly they collect acorns and chatter about finding the squirrels. They toss them in the air and clap when they like where they fly. Sometimes they stomp on the metal bleachers down the hill. After singing a song from the radio and running around the park, the leader has them collect the acorns and they line them up on the seats of the bleachers. The pieces go flying as their feet grind them into dust. The squirrels forgotten, they will have to find their own dinner tomorrow.