(think/feel/breathe)

(Lights. The stage is bare except for a set of rusty metal swings, which are unusually silent and still. A few moments later, a young woman walks on calmly in capris, a sweatshirt, and flip flops. After glancing around, she sits on a swing, curling her fingers around the chains and gently kicking her sandals off. She rocks back and forth ever so slightly and speaks softly.)

So this is it. My park. It's not mine, really. I mean, it's public property of course. I watch young mothers bring their two-year-olds here during the Fall. They sit them in the baby swings, or help them down that plastic slide over there. (nods to her left) But it's mine. All of my friends know it's mine. And I know it's mine.

I come here when I need to think. It's my hideout, I guess. I always sit in this swing, and I watch the sun set. It's cheesy, I know. But it helps. (smiles softly) When I'm really upset, I pump the swing up and down and up and down until I feel the whole swing set moving. I pretend I can fly. There's this one moment, when you reach the very top and just begin to fall back towards the ground that you actually feel like you're floating. (pauses; smile widens) By the time I stop pumping the swing and I've drifted back down and everything's still…I'm fine. It's incredible.

(She breathes in deeply. There is the faint sound of the wind blowing. Her eyes begin to follow something slowly across the stage.)

That woman lives about two blocks away. Her daughter just turned four. I remember when I first saw her in a stroller from this very same spot. (pauses thoughtfully; speaks with a tinge of sadness) I'm finally beginning to understand regret.

(shifts) Someone told me once that life is all about seasons. Beginning, middle, end. It's such a simple equation, a progression. And yet the simplicity - the very fact that time does not stop for us; that it is the one thing that humans, with all our intelligence and technology, cannot change to suit our purposes; that we don't have the time to think, just to feel (grasps at the air in front of her and clenches her fist slightly) - is what keeps us from being (exhales slowly as she speaks) happy.

It makes us wonder. It makes us question our existence, our experiences. My dad always tells me that I'll forget the friends I have now in five years. And I always ask him, "What's the point, Dad?" I mean (gets up from the swing, becoming more animated) what is the point of making friends, of putting the effort into the relationships, if all you concentrate on is the end? And the common end at that! What is the point of completely disregarding the middle, the experience? What is the point of learning, caring, loving, reading, working, laughing? What's the point of setting goals? Just because the leaves fall in Autumn, just because the snow falls in winter, just because the seasons give way to one another with the passage of time - it doesn't mean that each season is wasteful. It doesn't mean that the snow isn't shoveled or played in simply because Spring will melt it.

(builds, speaking louder) Seasons mock us. They're miniature versions of our lives. They constantly remind us that we, ourselves, are seasons; that we, too, are progressions. We have beginnings, middles, and ends. We are born, we live, and we die. The ends always come too fast, the seasons we love are often over too soon. Suddenly we're just depending on memories that we didn't take the time to make, and we desperately cling to photographs and yearbooks and playbills and programs and souvenirs.
(suddenly subdued) We simply can't handle time. It handles us. As soon as we have memories, however vague, we're too busy concentrating on them to pay attention to the next season. We miss so much…

(She sits back down on the swing and sighs. The lights have gotten darker and darker as she has spoken - representative of the setting sun.)

But I guess thinking about it is the most wasteful thing of all. Thinking clouds our perspective, keeps us from really feeling, really experiencing. (is silent for a moment, and then smiles softly, getting up) I've probably done enough thinking for one sunset.

(She walks away. The empty swing goes back and forth slowly stilling itself.

Lights.)