HRM’s teeter-totter population is in distress. Numbers are dwindling. There are kids who have never known the joy, or the jaw jarring jolt of a free fall drop from the on high position. Close to the harbour’s head in the city’s southeastern reaches there are two small prides of urban teeter-totters.
Ocean View Elementary School, Eastern Passage
Most days they can be found grazing on their preferred food, pea gravel. The two groups are just a few hundred metres apart. The Ocean View group casts its glance out over the harbour entrance. The four members of the Tallahassee pride are arranged in pairs with a view of a sportsfield in one direction and playground equipment in the other. As captured in the photo, they must be approached stealthily.
Tallahassee Elementary School, Eastern Passage
What has happened to the once wide range of this noble fulcrum of fun? Who is responsible for pushing it into the endangered species zone and can ordinary citizens play a role in reviving the teeter-totter’s fortunes?
They are still part of the mix in entertainment venues like the Westville Drive-in where I snuck in on more than one occasion during my more youthful years.
Westville Drive-in teeter-totters
Then there are those who have migrated, back to the wild. The common red wooden teeter-totter is now synonymous with Kejimkujik National Park. Their prides are larger, six to a family unit. The group pictured here is configured in a classic 2-3-1 defensive position. They have left their urban trappings behind and flow with the ups and downs of the other forest dwellers.
The Common Red Teeter-Totter, Kejimkujik National Park
But really has there been a decree penned that signals the teeter-totter’s demise and if so, why and by whom? Halifax Plays says bring back the teeter-totter from the brink of extinction. Other communities within the city should have access to these magnificent and misunderstood playful beasts of burden.
The big push
So, a quick refresher – it takes two to teeter-totter. You see, then you saw. It helps if the teeterer and totterer are of more or less similar weight. The teeter-totter can be an early lesson in building trust and learning about risk, or not. You trust that your chum will not leave you up in the air legs dangling with your groin being pulled by gravitational force into the metal hand rest.
There are worse fates in the trust betrayed sweepstakes. That dangling feeling can turn on a dime. You could come plummeting to the earth, butt smacking the ground, knees around your ear lobes, teeth rattling inside your head. This is not the desired gentle let down from highest heights. It’s abrupt, brutish and can be painful. Hold on tight…