Monterey Bay, Monterey California


It seemed so large at the time. As my sister Joan and I played on a swing set in the backyard of a neighbor’s house, a klatch of moms sat in the kitchen sipping coffee. I would try to swing myself, pushing my legs out and pulling them back, but it wouldn’t work. The swing just stopped. Joan would sacrifice her precious playtime to push me.

One day, I began shifting my weight with a slight pull on the chains and a kind of push-pull pumping action, and there it was. The swing elevated, and I went higher and higher. When we walked home that day, I worried that I’d forget how to do it and made an effort to lock the knowledge in my memory, that elusive shifting of weight, leg swing magical motion.

It took me so high. I would become weightless as the swing flew past the tension point to the breathless pause between directions, and the chains loosened a little, the ultimate height limit of a playground swing. I loved the free fall, dropping forward facing the dirt, swinging through to the next weightless moment, and falling backward gazing up to the sky.