My Tire Swing

I am 59 this week and I walked around my farm.  I own less of it now than I ever did.  I visited the old chicken coup where Uncle Roy lived.  Uncle Roy was our lazy rooster who lorded over a dozen hens.  Of sorts.  He was so lazy that I had to wake him up every morning.  “Wake up, Uncle Roy,” I chided. “And crow.”  And he did.

I took a left down through the pasture to walk across the “magic bridge,” a wonderful lane that my six year old granddaughter Aaralyn and I built so that we could cross the muddy creek that crosses my farm. Now this overweight, late middle aged grandfather walks it alone on his birthday.

Yes, I visited my children’s tire swing this morning. Now empty of bouncing children, this discarded tired surrogate mistress was once a wild bucking horse, a twirling UFO, a charming Timbuktu prince. Its shredding manmade plastic rope twirled and charmed our world.  It hangs from a massive sugar maple tree that a lumber company once offered me $3500 if I would let them cut it down for maple kitchen tables with faint marks of maple tapping scars.

The tire swing was an old Michelin radial that is the home to nefarious yellow wasps. Every June I attack the tire swing with Black Flag wasp killer and respectful trepidation.

My children, though, mounted the Michelin like seasoned rodeo riders.

My children invaded the universe on this old Michelin radial. They learned that they could soar to the end of the sky and yet return safely back to the sedentary loam. The enjoyed the thrill of infinity and the caution of chaos.

They depended on me.  Always.  Tire swings are not like playground swings.  One cannot pump hard enough, push away energetically enough, to break the confides of gravity.  They always needed their dad to break forth into the heavenlies.  I liked that.  I liked the fact that they needed me.

From that old tire they moved into history. They moved beyond the mendacity of their restricted world and found their way into Middle Earth where there were new beginnings, new hopes. They gracefully wriggled their toes at passing mourning doves and plowed furrows through sensual alfalfa pasture. They laughed at passing thunderstorms and frowned at interloping grasshoppers. They dodged maple leaves and smiled at rainbows. From my tire swing.

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