Thursday, January 18, 2007

Swings with which to fly

When I was a kid, I loved to swing. At the rural school I attended, the swing sets were made with old power poles with a heavy metal bar that ran across the top, and stood taller than a two-story house. Thick chains "tied" the wooden seats to the posts. If you had enough energy and strength, you could really soar, but you had to stand on the swing and really pump to do it. Or do a combo with a friend, where one of you would sit and the other stand and take turns pumping. It felt so powerful to swing so far and high that you could almost touch the clouds…

My grandfather made my first swing; he tied it to the giant Blue Ash tree in our front yard. This swing had a green wooden seat and was attached by two thick, scratchy ropes. It wasn’t quite as tall as the swings at school, but I could still fly.

Later, my mother bought a pre-fab metal swing set with a slide. The swings had small chains, yellow metal seats that burned your legs during the summer. It was so small compared to the swings at school or the swing my grandfather had made—which was taken down when the new swing set arrived.

The swing set at school was eventually taken down, too. And replaced by newer, safer playground equipment, with short swings that had seats shaped like cups. No more combo swinging; no more soaring far into the blue of a spring sky.
One can only hope they’ve been given other wings with which to fly…

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The desire to reach for the sky runs deep in our human psyche.
~Cesar Pelli

The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn't it be? - it is the same the angels breathe.
~Mark Twain, "Roughing It"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

my favorite swings were at a local park under some old tall oaks trees. my son would sit on my lap facing me with his legs wound tightly around my torso. another form of combo. we'd fly high into air as my shoes would graze the leaves reaching downwards from sturdy branches. a child's laughter filling my mouth with a smile.