Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer, Sheet Fort

Ah summer...
Back when I was a kid summer meant freedom.
Freedom to wear my bathing suit all day long.
Freedom to go without shoes.
Freedom to be outside in the warm wind and sunshine.
Freedom to spend my days as I wished.

Reading on my fence corner perch.
Building forts out of refrigerator boxes hauled over from Sears.
Wandering among the sheets Mother had just hung on the clothesline.
Losing myself in creative thought and play.
Ahhhhhhhh...the days of summer.

I still enjoy my summer days.
I go without shoes most of the day - only donning them when absolutely necessary.
I steal away in quiet little corners to lose myself in another's world and story.
I start each day in the warm wind and sunshine.
I get dirty.
Mud between my toes, dirt under my fingernails, twigs in my hair, sweat down my spine.
Filthy dirty!
And with that freedom and wild abandon I allow my creativity to run amok! 
I waste time on foolish, carefree whims of fancy.
And I am free.
And I am happy.

Today I built a fort.
It's just a few plastic pipes and some discarded sheets.

I bought a stack of bright colored sheets from a charity shop.
Just a couple of bucks each.
I laundered them; they smelled nice.
Bottle fresh.
But as I folded them, I realized something was missing.
The wind...
and the sunshine...

I would set them free.

Building materials for my fort.
4 plastic tubes cut in half.
8 corner connectors.
2 zip ties.
And my sheets.

I make 2 squares with my cut up poles and corner connectors.

I zip-tie them together.

They stand.

I drape a striped sheet over the frame and it swells with the fresh wind.
The stripes are waving.
They dance uncontrollably.
They are happier already.

The sheet is too short.
I add yellow with pink flowers and green leaves.

And together they now reach the grass.

The yellow with pink flowers runs down the center.
It makes two very long pockets just right for the top poles of the squares.
Now the sheet won't blow away.
and my fort has a roof.

Other long pockets on the bottoms of the big sheet make it spread out and stay in place.
 2 stripey walls.

I reconnect the pipes.
Still 2 big squares.
Now covered in colorful stripes and pretty, pink flowers 
that smell fresh 
and wave with the wind.

I could leave it like this.
Open ends.
Like a tunnel.
Come in; go out.

But today I want a hide-away.
I make a big triangle with long pockets for the pipe legs.

My sheet fort is private.
It's just for me.
I can peek out between the sheet walls 
to see if someone's there.

Or I can just sit inside
see the sunshine through the fibers,
hear the rustle and snap of the sheets 
as the warm wind blows,
and smell the fresh.

With leftover pieces of the big sheets,
I make 2 flaps.
Flaps give me choices.
Closed - I want some private time.
Open - I want to be near you.

My own little world.
Just outside my own backyard.
My private summer get-away.
It's everything I need it to be.

Just a few plastic pipes and some discarded sheets?

All photographs by Paulette Rodriguez

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