Life on the Big Swings

As I was meditating last night, it came to me that life was very nearly perpetual motion, like a pendulum, or child’s swing. To take the metaphor further, on a swingset, it takes only a little effort, properly timed and reasonably well executed, to set you up swinging for as long as you might want.

Furthermore, by dropping your head way back, shifting on the seat, and otherwise messing with your internal equilibrium, you can give yourself the feeling that you are in actual danger– you can scare yourself quite badly, in fact. But you are in no more danger at any point in your ride than you were to begin with.

When I was in elementary school, “to play on the Big Swings” was a metaphor for courage. The Big Swings were 18 or 20 feet tall, made by some local farmer from scraps of metal tubing he had lying around. At one end of your trajectory, you were level with the tops of the carrigana bushes that surrounded the school yard, level with the cross bar of the swing. At the other end, the front end, if you were courageous enough to jump, you would land on  the gravel sidewalk in front of the school, and beat all the rest of the kids back to the school doors after recess. Essentially, the combination of courage and timing might potentially catapult you to the front of the line!

I would like to say that I had had the courage for that challenge. Indeed, I often jumped, but not from the end of my trajectory, so that I would land on grass. However, I’m gaining trust in the universe and my abilities as I grow older, so someday, perhaps quite soon, I’ll beat you to the school doors.


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