The Orange Swing

It hung from an impressive tree in front of the house in Bradford, waiting… beckoning. Each summer, my parents would bring us there for a brief reprieve from the madness of city heat. These annual pilgrimages would always commence with a wild sprint from the back seat of our car straight toward that tree, the winner to claim the first, delicious ride on the orange swing.

Is it entirely possible to be unhappy on a swing? I can still feel the joy, so fresh and vibrant. Lingering by the tree and impatiently awaiting my turn, then the relentless pleas to anyone within shouting range for the one magic push that would make flight possible. Finally, my head tossed back, the endless laughter and sweet delight of that moment as I sailed through air upon the orange swing. Higher… higher!

The grand old tree is long gone, but not the orange swing. Stored in the barn not far from where it once hung, it is faded and chipped, its edges worn, its chain rusted. But it is not abandoned: instead, it patiently awaits another tree upon which to hang, other children to enchant with its promises of reaching summer clouds. And when grown, these children will join those of us who already hold closely those memories of that orange swing and the simple bliss we felt upon it.