Many will remember the summer of 2020 for its terrible cacophony of pandemic and politics, reckoning and rage.
But I am still struck by its silence, the eerie stillness of its streets, the sad spectacle of silent swimming pools and limp park swings, the mute stages and empty playing fields.
That’s why, even more than lilacs and lawns, I am thrilled to see noise return to my neighborhood.
I love to hear indistinct chatter drifting over from the park across the street and the school next door; the crack of the bat and swell of cheers from the baseball diamond; the universal calls of “I’m open” “Get it!” “Here!” “Nice Play” that I could hear from any sport and do from the ultimate frisbee field and basketball courts near me, the thwack of the tennis ball against a racquet.
Free play has come back to the park with all of the laughter, friendship and joy it inspires.
Folks walk in small groups again and greet their neighbors on the lawn.
Skateboards grind on the cement, bicycles whiz past, beats blast from passing cars and speakers tucked into backpacks.
The music of summer has returned to this country, underscored by caution to be sure, but brought to life by life-saving vaccines and bi-partisan support for the research and rollout that made it all possible.
As I wrote about before, my mom was lucky enough to receive one of the first polio vaccines and I can just imagine the joy and relief parents felt during the summer of 1956 following the approval and implementation of Dr. Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine. Thanks to that vaccine, the United States has been polio-free since 1979.
I’m so grateful for this season and the sense of community it brings.
On Friday, the Erb Park swimming pool opens for the first time since August of 2019. My family and I can’t wait to be able to use the pool again and for the sweet, summer onomatopoeia that will follow: Boing! Splash! Whee! Whoosh! Tweeeeeet! HaHa! Hehe! Swoosh!
Bring on the music of summer!