Monday, August 8, 2011
Swings, Sunshine, and Smiles
I grew up in a quasi-rural county. My parent's house sits in the middle of 13 acres at the base of a mountain with a creek. My brother and I spent a lot of time outside. We played in the creek, rode bikes, played all manner of yard games, and we had a swing set.
I cannot properly represent in written word what that swing set meant to me. It was where I played Jem! (for those of you in my generation, I even had a special earring ;)), where I recounted the final scene from Phantom of the Opera over and over again, and where I spent time swinging just to inhale the honeysuckle that grew along our fence line. As the years passed, the role of my swing changed. It was where I went to think about a boyfriend, where I cried when he was gone, where I pondering someday having a family, where I wondered if I ever would. Eventually my single swing was replaced by a two seat wooden one. When I left for college, so did my swing set - finding a home at my brother's house for my niece.
Even though I was all grown up and away at school, I still managed fairly often to find my way to the local park to feed the ducks and to swing. I'd think about class, or life, or try to escape them both. There was something serene in the simple act of pumping my legs to gain flight. I remember sitting in the swing, feeling the warmth of the sun, and that pure joy made me smile.
Now almost 10 years later, I found myself at a local park at 8:15 in the morning with a cup of coffee, a camera, and two little girls. One blissfully slumbered beside me listening to the giggle of her older sister. The other found a swing, sunshine, and smiled. In that moment, I saw pure joy in her face and felt it creep across mine.