“How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over 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! ”
The Swing – Robert Louis Stevenson
Up at our cottage there is a small clearing in the trees, with a view toward the lake. It is a place some of us (probably the girls) always looked at as if it was where you would slip off to with a new boyfriend when it seemed you had been inundated with aunts and uncles, and cousins or other lakeside visitors – to get away and whisper, or steal a kiss without being observed by dad.
It is a place to go when you are feeling like a moment, or being contemplative, or are in love, or out of love – a place away from the other places, a place to steal a kiss, or tell a secret.
And then our eldest had a baby who has a love of swinging, and we’d drive for twenty minutes to the park beside the local baseball diamond. At last I knew what the spot in the trees needed – a swing – a swing for a toddler, but a swing for a long-legged kid or a grown up, too.
Lucky for all of us my son-in-law, the toddler’s daddy, is a recently graduated architect with a passion for building – no pre-packaged swing set kit for us. On three of the hottest days of last summer he happily constructed the perfect, simple baby swing and a ‘big’ swing, and a place to climb and slide – with awe struck assistants from those of us eager for the finished product.
It was a hot summer with the lake temperature invitingly warm, so swimming and boating and floating we’re so much of what we did – not much swinging at all.
But it’s British Columbia, Canada and there are long crisp seasons where the lake is the backdrop for more quiet pursuits, times when there will be a fussy baby that needs to be soothed or too many folks will be crowded inside, and two others will have to slip out to that spot in the trees and take turns simply swinging.
It’s January now, the ground is icy white, the still air promises more snow and cold. But hey, it’s time to dream of spring and going “up into the air and down”….