What Happened to Our Playground? Tales of a North Carolina Storm

I am a childcare worker. We had just placed the kids on their mats, and everyone was finally asleep. It was a chilly day, and rain was forecast. All of a sudden we heard torrents of rain beating down. The rain sounded like it was in buckets being thrown at our large picture windows. We glanced around at the children, hoping this horrendous sound would not awaken them. A melodious CD was in the background of Nicolette Larson singing “Sleep, Baby Sleep”, and we hoped they would.

The sound of metal against concrete scraping was coming from outside, so we ran to the window and peeped outside. We knew nobody would be out on the playground in this downpour. We saw our giant and very heavy trashcan looking as if it had been hurled by the Incredible Hulk sailing past our eyes. Flowing steadily beneath it was a stream of trash. As the trash got picked up by the wind, it made its way into the sandbox, mulch, climbers, grassy areas, and artfully displayed itself along the fenceline. An artist could not have done a better job.

Our children arose and looked outside in amazement. They talked and talked about the trash outside. They also could not go outside until it was removed, so they were not very happy about that either. Maintenance had to be called. We have a child who calls one of the maintenance men “the man”. Little faces pressed their noses against the panes and watched “the man” work diligently the next day on their play area. They were exuberant. So were the teachers.

The weather also caused some downed trees, so parents had to re-route in order to pick up their little darlings that day. It was very exciting for us and for the parents. We had no down trees at our center. Later, we did discover a dead bird outside the playground. He must have been blown by the wind. He was on the outside of the fence, and the children discovered him as well. I do not know if this was in my job description, but I had to put gloves on and remove the little bird. It was kind of yucky, but I did it.

We all survived the blustery day in North Carolina. I am sure we will have more windy days here. Weather is unpredictable.

Oh well. Anything for the children. They are our future. Right?

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