The Swing Set

Hrysoula - Newtown Square, Pennsylvania
Entered on March 1, 2009

I believe in the swing set; the tendency for all things to act like a pendulum for eternity; to trust that they will end up where they started; to move in deceivingly distinct arcs while, in fact, always secured to the same pivot.

Who invented the swing set anyway? Or did it invent us? Did he watch the children take to his toy, oscillating, and screeching with delighted fear, and did he ever think, “What have I done?”

Perhaps he didn’t have the heart either, to tell them “Baby this is life! Not Barbie and Ken, not Playmobile cars or Legos or Tetris, though these toys hold some universal truths as well.

“You will forever be trying to fit the pieces together: man and woman, love or friendship, give in or give up. Life may look like a mysterious puzzle, but the more realistic the video-game graphics, the more the games stray from the simplistic essence of life-

“The rattle: shake, shake, shakin’ things up…

“The merry-go-round: one minute you see the world from one angle, the next second its another,

“The swing set: Up and down, up and down, back and forth. You’ll tire of this version someday, not only because you have grown up, but also because it has consumed you in other forms all over your life. You’ll grow accustomed the swing’s ubiquitous arc: happy then sad; victory and defeat, the fine line between love and hatred; death giving way to new life; enthusiasm dissolving into boredom; rebellion mechanized into conformed complacency; together and apart…”

I believe that we should realize that our children’s play is more like practice, an important preparation for live. For the lessons of that swing set prepare us for the hurdles of life in which we are forever nearing the start, only to find we must push to start all over again once we get there; because every life leaves an internal impression on those to come. And even though our own lives might end, life itself lasts forever.

I believe in gravity and inertia, though they may seem a zero-sum trip. I believe that the swing set, much like life, is well worth the ride.