This evening as I was walking through the playground to swim my 18 laps at the pool, I passed a large, middle-aged man in running shorts and a worn t-shirt swinging outrageously high. He backed up equally high and dropped his arms before swinging back down. Pumping his legs forcefully, he continued swinging to the stars and back down. He didn’t look ecstatic or scared, just very present, paying intense attention to the act of swinging.
Swimming my laps I thought about the swinger, and also about how much I love swinging. One of Ken and my first dates, one dark summer night, was to a playground. I led him there so we could swing side by side in the dark. The higher he swung, the harder he laughed, and the more I fell in love with him. As we swung, I hummed one of my favorite all-time songs because of how outrageously silly it is: “Would You Like to Swing on a Star?” (click on this link to hear Bing Crosby sing it with a bunch of widly-cute little boys).
Leaving the pool, I passed by the swings again, and this time, in the baby swings, a father was swinging a one-year-old in one swing and a two-year-old in the other. He had it worked out so that as one baby flew backwards, the other flew forward. Standing in front of them, he just rhythmically pushed one swing, then the other. From the dazed and happy looks on both babies and how much the dad was clearly in the zone, I got the impression these babies had been swinging on a star for a long time.
Next time I pass a swing, I think I might just climb on, and see how high, after all these years, I can still go. Even better, maybe I need to bring Ken along and see if swinging still makes us laugh uncontrollably.