I was out on my back deck the other day, just kind of surveying the yard, taking it all in as I listened to the birds signing and felt the sun shining on my face. The grass isn’t as thick as I want it, nor is it as green as I want it. The shed looks a little more run down than last year. It’s also probably time I replaced the aging fence back there, too. You probably think all this would get me down, but it really doesn’t, it’s just the state of things right now. What did get me down a little was the gaping spot where the pool used to be.
We used to have an above ground pool in the back until last year when we gave it away. If you have a pool, or have ever had a pool, you know they are a lot of work and cost you more than a few bucks to keep them up and running. We used to think it was a good trade off, because the pool got used all summer long. My kids would have friends over and they would spend the day in and out of the pool, and it kind of became the hangout spot for them. We also used to have friends over who had kids the same age as ours and they’d spend most of the time in the pool. Me, my wife and our kids would go in the pool together when I wasn’t at work. We let people use our pool even if we weren’t home. And then the kids grew up and the pool just didn’t get used much anymore.
That’s the part that got me down, thinking about those times when there was activity in the backyard, water splashing, laughter, and screaming – the kind of noise that was nice to hear. Now there’s a sandy shape of a pool, some crushed stone that was around the edges, and some weeds growing. While I like the sounds of the birds, there is nothing like the sound of kids having fun. It is a sound that still brings joy to my heart.
When I was growing up, we had a pool for a number of years. We went in the pool almost every day those summers, staying in for long stretches of time until our toes and fingers were shriveled like prunes and our eyes were cloudy with chlorine. We’d come out for lunch or a snack and then go back in when Mom said it was okay. We had incredible contests of endurance to see who could hold their breath under water the longest, do the most underwater somersaults, or who could go back and forth underwater the most times without coming up for air. Sometimes, we made whirlpools by going around the edge of the pool and then just floated along with the current until it died. Those were good times.
As we got older, the pool got used less and less until finally, it was taken down. I myself was not sad when that happened, but maybe my parents were. Maybe they felt the same thing I did the other day when they looked out the back window of our house and heard nothing but the birds singing. The sense that something was missing, that time had somehow moved on a little too quickly, and that I should have enjoyed those noisy, pool-filled days a little more than I did, because it’s awfully quiet out there now.