Afternoon at the park | Places of Identity

A personal essay written by Enumclaw Middle School student Elleanna Espinosa.

Editor’s note: Enumclaw Middle School students recently wrote essays about how places around the Plateau shaped their identity. Five essays have been selected to be published in the Courier-Herald in fifth-week editions; they have been minimally edited to retain the author’s voice. This is the first, originally published Nov. 30, 2022; more essays will be published March 29, May 31, Aug. 30, and Nov. 29, 2023.

The wind whistled as it softly blew against the leaves, and the swing’s steel chains creaked with every movement.

“Do you want another push?” my sister said.

She stepped back, leaves crunching beneath her footsteps, as she brought the swing toward her.

“Yeah!” I said, my grip tightened to the chains, readying myself for a push. My face formed a smile as my sister counted down, “One, two… Three!”

Enumclaw McFarland Park. I would often go there with my sister when I was little. The smell of pine cones and tree sap filled the air with its aroma. And the sun often beamed down on the playground, making it a bright, exciting place to be. There were vibrant orangey-brown wood chips that surfaced the playground. But there were also two areas that split the park, the “big kid” and “little kid” playgrounds.

The big kid’s playground had a bright, lively yellow slide, which was my favorite spot to go on. A matt black platform attached the slide and the ground together, with bars and stairs surrounding it. Two swings were next to it. They were always taken up by younger kids and toddlers, but I didn’t mind, I was too big for it anyway.

The viridescent, freshly cut grass surrounded the park. At the little kid’s playground, there was a smaller slide, a little bigger in width but smaller in height. It was pastel yellow, a soft touch to the eyes while the surrounding colors were a little harsher, but still pastel teal. It contrasted with the yellow.

Like before a smaller black platform attached the slide to the floor with stairs, but this was a little closer to the ground. Three swings moved along with the wind, these were often taken up too, but with older kids. Since these swings were bigger and could fit bigger bodies, many people came to this playground for the swings.

The park was important to me for many reasons. It played a big part in my childhood, and gave me a stronger bond with my sister. Every time we went there, she would accompany me, making sure I had fun, it brought me comfort, so that was a place I could go to spend time with my sister. If I wasn’t with my sister, I was often there with my friends. I loved it there.

That park contributed to my identity. It made me more confident when socializing and making friends. I often made a lot of friends there, and some of them I still talk to today! I learned more about myself there too, I learned that it is important to spend time with people you love and that it’s also important to have fun!