Saturday, February 12, 2011

Letter to the Girl in the Park

Dear Girl in the Park,

I saw you swinging again today. I've seen you twice before, always in the early morning on a Saturday. The park is deserted except for you. From a distance I can't tell how old you are. You look to be at least mid-20s, but it's hard to tell as I zip past on the road to a hot coffee destination. I assume that the battered grey sedan is yours. It's the only car in the parking lot, and you are the park's only inhabitant. I wonder if you chose this time of day because you know you'll be the only person in the park.

Alone with the birds. You're both on the wing.

When I've seen you before the weather was warmer, but today the snow lingers on the ground. As you swing, I think about how cold the wind must be whistling past your ears, bringing tears that stream back across your cheeks into your dark hair. You're catching some serious air. You're wearing a jacket, but you're not really dressed for the cold; no hat, no gloves, wearing brown flannel pajammer bottoms and wool clogs that look like they could be flung from your feet into the sky at any second as your toes stretch for the clouds.

Is this your version of a weekly therapy session? You don't seem angry or upset. You don't yank against the chains. You don't strain violently forward and backward attempting to break the bonds that hold you to the earth. In fact you seem... peaceful. Like the gull that hangs in the sky buoyed by the sea breeze beneath its broad wings. Effortless.

I hope you found what you were seeking, there in the park, swinging.


  1. Oh a Holly Letter!!! I love it! However this one is just kind of sad. What would cause someone to go to a park and swing when no one else is around and she isn't 8?
    Regardless, I loved your description of it all! You did a good job of still conveying the sadness of a girl swinging by herself in a park but with a touch of optimism...maybe she just likes to swing.

  2. Or... maybe she's murdered her entire family and she's out on the swings because the stench is unbearable and the cool breeze of the air as she swings help clears out the lingering odor of decay?

    I really enjoyed reading your post. I like the voice of it. :) Happy Valentines Day!

  3. She sounds like a real swinger to me