Yesterday afternoon I took a few minutes to sit in our porch swing on the back deck. Something I haven’t done for quite some time. I’ve loved swings since childhood, but the variety of my swinging delights are many.
Dad put up a swingset in our backyard that had swings, a glider, and monkey bars. Out of all its features, I loved the swings best. To soar through the air and feel the wind in my hair was pure delight.
Swings at our favorite park were even better because they had the ability to go higher. Sundays were a highlight because we’d gather at the park with family. This called for a contest among the cousins to see who could swing the highest.
A friend’s dad created one of the best swings ever in a large tree in their backyard. The harder we pumped the higher it would go. I’m certain neighbors could hear our laughter and screams across their yards. Standing on the ground, the tree made me feel very small. Looking up, I could see the sky through its branches and even up to the branch where the swing began. Oh, how high up it was.
Today sitting in our swing made me think of another swing with many memories tied to it. It was on the front porch of the home of friends of my folks. Their oldest daughter and I were classmates in grade school. Their front porch spanned across the front and down one side of the house. The swing hung at the corner where the porch made its turn. Our joy was to see how far out we could get that swing to go. All the while we giggled and laughed—and hoped our folks wouldn’t catch us at our risk-taking.
Robert Louis Stevenson summed up the delight of swinging in his poem, The Swing:
The SwingHow do you like to go up in a swing,Up in the air so blue?Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thingEver a child can do!Up in the air and over the wall,Till I can see so wide,Rivers and trees and cattle and allOver the countryside—Till I look down on the garden green,Down on the roof so brown—Up in the air I go flying again,Up in the air and down!