September 23, 2008

Swing times

This home made little red swing has seen better days, but perhaps it's happy to be retired. I came across it on my ride. Its delicate construction suggests that it was made for a small child. But rather than being used up and broken, it seems to have been simply abandoned instead.

My favorite swing as a kid was a rope that someone had hung from a massive old tree on the bank of a creek in the woods. "The Rope" as it was know by the neighborhood kids was a favorite hang out, no pun intended, a touchstone of local kid society. Trysts took place there, and fights, first cigarettes were smoked, first kisses stolen or given, and many a tale was told in the dappled shade around its totemic knots. And many a thrill-ride, launched from the bank, ended in the creek.

I came across this variation of the theme a few years ago on one of the canals in an undeveloped precinct of the city. The trunk of the gracious old tree from which it hung was ribbed, far up into its leafy depths, with a ladder of nailed-on boards. I stumbled across the place again a while back, I don't know how I found it. The path was weedy and the clearing obscured. The rope was gone. The stairs were gone. Only a few broken remnants of the little dock remained. And the tree... silent now, reclaimed, forgotten.