Last night, my family and I supported our local community’s “Movie Night in the Park.” This venue has been going on for most of the summer, but this was the first evening we were able to attend.
Arriving at the park early, an hour before sunset, we chose our spot and set up our chairs and arranged our bags and belongings so we would know where to find it all in the dark.
My daughters took off to hang out with friends before the show started. And, of course, we all headed to the snack stand, which was selling pizza, sodas, popcorn, and candy.
By nightfall, the grass was covered in our corner of the park. Kids were running around with Frisbees, balls, jump ropes, and fistfuls of candy. The adults were kicked back in chairs and on blankets, some of them wandering from group to group saying hello and killing time before showtime. The excitement level was high; after all, it’s a small-town Friday night and everyone is beginning their weekend. For those of us gathered at the Movie Night in the Park, we chose to kick-start that weekend with friends, family, community.
Then the twilight settled a little deeper, and the big screen lit up, and E.T. was there larger than life. As usual in a crowd that size, it took a few minutes for everyone to notice the show had started and for the quiet to descend. Then, there we were, one part of our small community, laughing at the same things, sighing in nostalgia at seeing a movie with our kids that most of us had seen when we were kids, and clapping when the lights came up at the end.
The on-going loop of life, the beauty in the continuity, occurring within the safety and sanctuary of community and friends and multiple generations. The good will of all relaxing together, slowing down from the rapid pace of life, and spending an evening chair to chair and blanket to blanket with strangers… who don’t feel quite so strange after an evening spent together.