Whether it’s a front porch swing, a play set in the backyard, or a tire hanging from an old gnarly Oak Tree – there’s just nothing quite like a swing. Robert Louis Stevenson apparently enjoyed a good swing as much as I. He captured the essence of freedom and joy when he wrote “The Swing”. It wasn’t until I began teaching kindergarten that I became familiar with the words, and though written in the 1800’s, I often find the words fun to quote when I am in a swing. I suppose it’s one of my favorites.
The Swing by Robert Louis Stevenson
How do you like to go up in a swing, Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall, Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all Over the countryside–
Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown–
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!”
It’s Always A Good Time To Swing
The other afternoon as the sky darkened and the rain began to fall, my creative energies and physical stamina became spent, used up, played out, just plain overcast. It was right then I remembered my backyard swing. Grabbing a blanket and pillow I dashed out into the rain, seeking refuge in my gazebo. Curled up on my swing I spent the next two hours in my cocoon, wrapped in the joy of my swing and the sounds of the rain as it pelted the canvas overhead.
Sitting Quietly In My Swing
It was in those hours that I was still…I was quiet…I was alone with God. My hands were not working on Kids Clubhouse props. My mind wasn’t in a whir trying to figure out all of the issues of life. My heart was receptive to the voice of our mighty God.
As I listened to the rain falling, the wind whispering through the tree branches, a few birds bravely singing out their evening songs as they nestled under protective leaves, I began to think of the many people I know who are facing difficult times. There are those who have faced closures, deaths of dreams, and failures. Some have walked through depressing heartaches, and others have walked triumphantly above the clouds in joyous abandonment. How very precious to have a mighty God who comforts us when we hurt, encourages us when we’re down, and laughs with us when we rejoice. Yes. what a mighty God we serve.
Memories of My Grandma’s Porch Swing
I couldn’t have been more than seven or eight years old when our family drove out to the Schafer Camp in Hawesville, Kentucky to visit my Grandmother Brown. She lived in an old farm house with a huge wooden-slat front porch. The blue paint on the floorboards was faded, the swing chain a bit rusty, and the screen door a constant banging as we ran in and out of the house. We’d tramp through the house until Grandmommie would finally shoo us out of her kitchen and into the yard or out on the porch.
Sitting in my swing under the patter of the rain on my gazebo, I remember those days with joy.
Grandma’s Porch Swing
Sitting on the porch swing down at Grandma’s house,
We push off from those old weathered floorboards.
High we go,
Higher and higher my sis and I, till almost our toes touch the ceiling.
Then back down, to push off once more.
The rusty hinge on the porch screen door squeaks out its raspy voice,
The spring twanging, like a taut bow as it releases an arrow.
We are on instant alert about approaching peril.
A grown-up will chide us and run us off the porch,
So we drag our feet, till the swing barely moves.
Grandma’s anxious face peers around the corner.
“Thought I heard a commotion out here. Ya’ll okay?
“We’re fine, Grandmommie.”
“Well, don’t ya’ll be taking that ol’ swing too high.”
“Yes, Ma’am,” we reply in perfect unison.
In that quiet lull as we sway back and forth, swatting an occasional sweat bee,
Swinging like old people after a hard days work,
Half-dozen or so hummingbirds appear
Among the morning glories on the lattice at the edge of the porch.
We don’t move a muscle; we don’t even scratch our noses.
We stare unblinkingly at this great mystery of aviation.
The rusty hinge speaks out again.
The old screen door slams,
– a signal.
The hummingbirds move on,
And we, my sis and I
One more time
Push off from those old weathered floorboards.
-R. D. Hale
Today as I faced deadlines and felt at loose ends trying to meet too many self-imposed deadlines, I nearly forgot about my swing. I almost forgot that all I need do is walk out onto my front porch and push off for an adventure. I don’t take my swing nearly so high as I did when I was younger, but the motion of a good ol’ swing is equally calming and inspiring. Go try it out for yourself.
So, how do YOU like to go up in a swing? Up in the sky so blue?
Oh I do think it’s the loveliest thing, ever God’s child can do!!!!
Do you have a childhood memory of a porch swing? Let me hear about it, okay?