The Bird Bath
The Bird Bath
In June, we’d run up the hill to the fence as soon as the recess bell went. We’d watch, eyes full of wonder, as they cleaned that big, giant rectangle. The end of June signalled the end of another school year but also, the beginning of summer. Every day we’d run up to that fence, fingers through the grates, always in awe of the clear water rippling, glistening in the sun. Man, we couldn’t wait for opening day!
The walk from our house to the pool was filled with singing and dancing. My sister and I would recreate dances to all our favourite New Kids On The Block songs. We were almost always amongst the first to show up for our afternoon open swim. We made friends with all the lifeguards, being Bird Bath regulars. Every day, twice a day for the entire summer we were there. We’d arrive, always a bit early, excited.
If I close my eyes, I can be there. Pink jelly shoes, towel around my neck, two-toned bathing suit and hair in a ponytail. I can hear the jingle of the gate. That meant the lifeguard on duty was officially opening the pool. If I pause for a minute longer, I can feel the warmth of the pre-swim shower, the cool refreshing water as I slowly enter the giant rectangle, and the warm summer breeze as it blows around the wonderment of summer vacation.
To this day, I don’t know why it’s called the Bird Bath. Perhaps it was its size, but that pool holds lots of memories. I don’t even think I can recall a single lifeguard’s name, but they, like the Bird Bath, were a huge part of my summer salvation. September found us back at school but every recess, just as we had in June, we’d run up that hill, latch our fingers thru the fence grates and watch as the pool drained, taking with it all of our summer secrets. Barren, empty … yet still filled with the promise of another summer to come.
by Melissa Foley, Hamilton, Ontario