Sunday, May 2, 2010

May-Day Images--A Saturday Mood Piece

A writing exercise, a recording of impressions on a spring day... Consider this a page from a writers notebook, raw material for an eventual suburban short story:

I stood on the front steps of my soon-to-be new home.  Mark has lived in this little ranch house in Mt. Prospect for 14 years.

The bright dandelions were boldly beaming, to my ingrained suburban embarassment.  The sturdy pine and delicate birch trees framed the distant images of a sporting ritual like a painting in a lost gallery.

Across the street is the soccer and football field belonging to the local High School that sits in the distance down the end of the Avenue.

The overcast sky softened the still air, and I watched a team of soccer players run back and forth, defending their goal from the advances of a second, more aggressive team of boys, all in their early teens.  They seethed with sweat, shouts, heavy breathing and careless physicality.

Parents, distracted siblings, and dogs gathered near small bleachers or lawn chairs.  Cars were parked with apparent immunity in front of signs that clearly warned No Soccer Parking.

I took a break from housecleaning  and looked on with my phone camera, snapping tranqil photos of a scene that regularly occurs on this street on summer Saturday afternoons.

In the suburbs, peripheral objects are amusingly glorified: trees, lawns, a yellow fire hydrant, groups of generic parents in the iconic wardrobe of jeans and sweatshirts, tennis shoes and baseball caps, yearning for membership in the world of their own children.  The boys, active drivers of the days' activities, were oblivious to their own power, as they were concentrating, running, calling out, embracing, and attracting attention.

An ice cream truck, playing over and again a caliope recording 
of Scott Joplin's theme from "The Sting" 
appeared like a suburban emblem, establishing this as truly the realm of children.  Yes, the suburbs exist primarily for children.

I knew I belonged here once, assumed it like my own name, or my reflected image.  Now, I simply enjoyed a wistful calm, snapped my pictures, and retreated back into the house, to an oasis of my own making, a cabin in the woods, a summer beach house, a winter cabin, where Mark and I have created the best library, cinema, music hall, and poster gallery; a place where languages and music, and the company of original and thoughtful adults is welcome; where culinary striving is encouraged and McDonalds is banned; and where two guys can express their affection like any other couple in any park on Main Street.

A place, I might hope, that those students across the street would be proud to create as their own some day.

1 comment:

  1. Tom, I really enjoyed this. Sounded a bit like the first page of a novel that I would one day love to read.

    Sorry to have slipped away the past few weeks in the busyness of school and getting ready for my trip, but I am glad I happened upon this blog post tonight between studies.