The wide wooden seat, it’s smooth board worn from use, called to me with its welcoming song of solitude. The thick old ropes reached high and wound around the sturdy branch above. The small patch of earth beneath, grooved from years and countless shoes dragged across it, was often muddy, and no grass could grow there.
It was my spot, though shared with a sister, I remember it being a retreat, where I could play and dream undisturbed.
In the spring you could look up through the dark branches and reach for the endless blue sky. Your toes would touch the clouds as you swooped higher and higher. Your nose filled with the scent of new white blossoms.
When summer came, a canopy of green would shade you from the heat of mid-day and create a theater for your songs.
Autumn would bring bright red fruit to snack on while you read your books. Winter would bury it in snow, the tree and the swing together in waiting.
Oh, the daily dramas it housed and bore witness to! It’s role was the mast of pirate ship, a surfboard on crashing waves, a tall mountain’s peak, or the tower above a medieval castle. It could carry the weight of two when asked, spider-like, or standing. But it was really meant for one, to carry one high, and, jump! That momentary feel of flying.
Both tree and swing are long gone now, a stump still there to remind of their place in the world. Blossoms still on nearby trees, where apples fall in autumn. Good climbing they are, low branches giving joy to other kids. None quite right for a summer swing, though, none could ever be as perfect.
In my mind’s eye I can picture it, still there, swaying in the breeze, beckoning me with a lullaby of childhood.