Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Rope Swing in a Tall Pine

My Grandmother Hunt had a tall pine tree in her front yard. My father climbed to the top one time, and when his friends asked how it was up there, he called down that the only thing he needed was a pool table. It was a fine tree, and I'm certain that the view from its top branches was very nice since at that time the surrounding land was mostly orchards and fields. I can remember watching squirrels run up and down the trunk and over the branches and my grandmother pointing out bird's nests. I'm not certain what kind of a pine it was, but it had needles and cones and smelled of resin, all things which delighted this little girl.

The tree sat a little off-center in the front yard, which was surrounded by a rock wall. I've noticed that rock walls in different parts of the country have their own look, depending on the local rock available to build with. In central California, when this wall was built, rounded, soft edged, river smoothed rock was used. The branches of the tree came down over the wall on one side, making it a perfect place to hang a rope swing. My father and his brother, my Uncle Leland, hung the swing over the wall so that I could touch it with my feet as I pumped.

I would push off from the wall, and sail high into the branches. At night, I would come in with pine needles in my shoes, my feet had gone so high. I would swing and swing and dream of flying. This was before I had read comic books or seen any super hero TV shows or movies, so my dreams of flying were more ala bird than ala Supergirl. The swing was one of the nicest toys I ever had; when we would visit my grandmother, it afforded me hours of exercise in the fresh air and sunshine every day. At night I would close my eyes and pretend that I was in my swing, and I could feel the movement, back and forth, up and down, until I fell asleep. To this day I can close my eyes and feel that motion and that content, mixed with the sound of the wind in the upper branches and the occasional traffic on nearby Highway 99 and the wonderful pine tree smell seem like heaven to me.


gawilli said...

We had a swing at my Grandms Nance's house. You are right; there is nothing like sailing through the air on your own volition. I spent many a day swinging out over the lake. What a thrill. Thanks for the memory!

kenju said...

I didn't have so fine a swing when I was a child; mine was metal and no where near a pine tree. But I still remember swinging, flying like the wind and loving every minute of it.

Ginnie said...

I get that same feeling that you described when I watch my 4 yr old grandaughter swing with her eyes closed.

Anonymous said...

I also had a swing on a pine tree when I was growing up. Your blog brought back that pleasant memory. Thanks.