creak of the swing . . .
my feet still reach
It’s my turn to write commentary on the poem we editors unanimously
voted our favorite for September. I begin as I normally do, sitting
quietly for a few minutes, letting go of thoughts, letting myself settle
. . . Now, for the poem. I read it several times, both silently and
aloud. Research is always the next step for me. I try to learn more
about a plant or animal named, the history of a location, the climate in
that region, or anything else in the poem with which I’m unfamiliar. I
read Connie’s poem again. Wonderful! But there’s nothing in it that I
don’t already understand.
Wait a minute! When was the last time I plopped myself down on a swing?
Why, so long ago I don’t remember. Jumping up, I grab my keys and hurry
down to the car, eager to get started on my research. Ha! What fun this
is going to be! I start the car . . . Wait a minute! I’m already
short-changing myself! Off goes the engine. My bike is in the garden
shed. Down it comes from the rafter hooks. So much dust! Off to the
kitchen for some rags. Shoot! The tires need air! Now, where did I store
that pump? Not in the holder on the bike, not on the shelves, not in the
footlocker . . . I’m getting impatient. How childish of me! Wait a
minute! Of course! Even this impatience is part of the experience! Ha!
My research is going well. Anyway, here’s the pump, sticking out of an
old planter box. At last! Tires inflated (but not nearly as much as I
am), I climb on and coast down the driveway.
No one else at the playground this morning and, yes! Just the right sort
of equipment here too. Three canvas swings hang motionless between heavy
chains. I settle into the middle one and walk backward a couple of
steps. Leaning even further back, I kick my legs out and feel the first
rush of air. Ahhhhhhh! Point those toes! Pull on the chains! Now, tuck
and lean forward! The swing swings back. A little higher with the next
arc, and the next. What d’ya know! It’s got a squeak! The rush of air
gets stronger, a tickly sensation developing in my stomach as I sweep
forward. The sand pit and shrubs vanish behind me as I reach toward the
top of an arc . . . then back they come, rushing into view. Higher!
Higher! Some free-fall now at the highest point as the chains slacken
for a moment . . . a jerk as my slung weight slams them taut again.
Back I go . . . then forward again, faster yet! Now the tall maples
across the sidewalk vanish and . . . yes, here it is in all its blue
glory! The sky! The whole sky! Nothing but the sky!
Boy what fun that was! That was yesterday. I decided to put off writing
until today so I could hang out longer at the playground. The monkey
bars were kinda neat, but I barked a shin. A couple of kids showed up
and one agreed to help me play on the see-saw. What an oddity I must
have seemed to them! Well . . . yeah! And man, you shoulda seen me whack
the tether ball! (Both kids enjoyed beating me at that game.) The slides
were way cool too! There’s so much I’d forgotten!
And now I see that I’ve forgotten to write about Connie’s poem. Heck!
Well, what can I say that she hasn’t said better and in far fewer words?
For a more thorough commentary, I recommend that y’all get on out to
your local playgrounds!