we were teased, by bully May, into believing
summer had arrived - until it left.
coming and going,
like fickle love that couldn’t decide
whether to stick around or head back out –
so that, we came to feel like we could burst, from our snowsuits
and thermal lined, waterproof boots . . .
(with corrugated soles).
but then, at last, after months and months
of slogging off into the bitter-bleak beyond
(by way of walking to school)
bundled up like woolly piñatas:
came to the children of northern Ontario
(to the annual amazement of us all).
and, finally, we could play:
we could skip
we could run
and – best of all - we could bounce
an India Rubber Ball and watch it fly
up-up-up into the sky.
and when it came down and when you caught it
(which, of course, you always did) . . .
it was wonderful and freeing:
the lightness of being
in the scent of sun and mud and leaves
and the sight of an India Rubber Ball
soaring high – astonishing -
high above, in astonishing green June trees.
notes: Rubber (an elastic material obtained
from the latex sap of trees) was first
known to the indigenous peoples of the Americas. In 1525, European explorers reported that they
had seen people playing with elastic balls in Mexico. In England, as its use
became more popularized, it became known as India Rubber. Though, I haven’t seen a 1950’s style India
Rubber Ball (as opposed to a sponge rubber ball that barely bounced at all) in
many, many years.
Snowstorms in May might sound unbelievable but on May 2, 2013, once again, Northern Ontario was hit by a huge snow storm.
Photo: Green June – W. Bourke