In the late-90s, my parents bought us a trampoline because it would be a fun way to exercise. Like many great toys, it was both magical and dangerous. There were many casualties, including a stuffed bear my brother liked to wrestle.
But the other thing I remember about the trampoline was how we’d jump on it together, simply trying to go higher and higher — until a double-bounce shot us up to a height we deemed too high, causing us to fall to our knees and laugh.
It was exhausting play, so afterward we would lay on the trampoline and stare up at the Kansas sky.
Eventually I stopped playing on the trampoline. I started hanging out with friends, driving to high school football games and going on college visits. But I remember coming home and seeing my brother on the trampoline, silently lying in the center with his stuff bear.
Eventually, that stopped, too. We disassembled the trampoline and put it in the garage. A few years later, my parents sold that house.
There are some special places that I know I can return to, but the trampoline at 8411 W. 130th Street in Overland Park, Kansas, is not one of them. The new owners installed fences and planted trees. And I have no idea where our trampoline ended up.
I remember staring at the sky on the trampoline and thinking for the first time how mind-blowing it was that we live on a rock flying through space.
It’s not so much nostalgia that makes me think about this trampoline. Rather, it’s that these kind of places are rare.
Today, Kristen and I stood on a bridge overlooking a small river and I thought how there are only two thing you can do at that location: cross it, or stand on it and ponder whatever comes to mind.
Most of life’s activities have goal. But in these wonderful places, there aren’t.