I was working-tap,tapping away at my computer, windows open, dinner cooking, wine poured. Typically a quiet time of day, the normal sounds of summer had suddenly risen to a boisterous pitch. Across the street, over a stone wall, and up a grassy hill, four children were swinging in their backyard. From where I was sitting in the dining room I could see them, and oh were they swinging. Obviously deep in the throes of competition, they were going as high as they could, yelling to one another gleefully. The instant that I looked up and saw them I was awash with the remembrance of that soaring, thrilling feeling on my yellow swing at Alconleigh.
Over, above and almost around-It was a homemade swing, my father built it from sturdy materials of longevity. Thick chains, hanging from a large piece of timber that was secured to the trees with massive bolts. The seat was a large chunk of wood sanded smooth and painted yellow with real oil based paint that wouldn’t peel, chip, or weather.
The pine trees it hung from soared up forever into the sky, trees that had been standing there for a century before they became the sentinels to my yellow swing. Something about the height of those trees made the swinging seem small, that no matter how high you could get you still were only frolicking around at their bases.
That feeling of freedom encouraged my mind to wander and though I paid not the slightest bit of attention to my safety, instinctively I held tight, managing to stay with the swing even when the seat came out from under me at the highest peak when, upside down with feet pointed toward the sky, the chains would slacken and the swing start to fall back on itself. This only added to the thrill.
Occasionally we would jump off rather than come to a stop, arms and legs flailing to get the most of the brief moment between swing and ground. I only see unsupervised children do that now.
And the space trolly was the cats pajamas.
Despite the picture, this was for older kids only as it was frought with dangers from which little tots could not protect themselves. We were warned: keep hands away from the cables or fingers could get cut off, dont bounce or the cables could rip out of the tree and slice our heads off..the warnings were dire. It was not for the faint of heart. Should you twist around the wrong way you would go crashing through the rhodedendron or careening into the rough bark of a sturdy pine. But all these dangers only enhanced the feeling of freedom as you flew 100 feet across the yard. No helmets, no knee or elbow pads just scrapes and bruises and exhilaration.