What Puts the “Jungle” in Jungle Gym…


I live in the tiniest house on my block of four homes. Next door to me, on the north side, is the biggest house, with a family of nine kids, and a double lot for a yard. I love the view of the next door open yard. It is very often full of children playing some type of ball. When it is too dark to see them, I can still hear the kids’ play-talk and laughter when my windows are open.

This family has a huge play structure in the lower end of their grassy field. The kids are growing, and usually, only the youngest little boys play on the structure, which is complete with swings, slide, a climbing platform, and monkey bars.

One morning quite recently, I was out early walking my little Hattie-dog. She is very alert, and notices every movement around. Usually, she wants to chase birds or bunnies, but most often her target is a squirrel. As we approached the yard next door, Hattie began straining, in her very well-trained way, at the leash, and I looked to the right.

Playing Follow-the-Leader, across the top of the monkey bars on the play structure, were two squirrels. Hattie and I stopped and watched. It was a living cartoon. The squirrels leaped from bar to bar, balanced on the side rails, and ran across the platform. I would not have been surprised if they had gone down the slide and leaped onto the swings for a little back-and-forth, but they didn’t.

It’s delightful to find wonder in the mundane. Not much is really mundane for me, though, because each second of my life is a joy and a gift. It is also a learning experience. Now I know why Jungle Gym is such a perfect name for a play structure.


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