Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Swinging

I walked out to the wooden dock pier in the dark of the night. My white knit hat, washed blue jeans, my favorite canvas shoes, and my Dr. Suess zip up sweatshirt over tight layers of spaghetti strapped and thermal shirts. I was going to walk the rock pier out to the edge in Clute Park, but opted instead for a better lit area since I was alone. So it was me, the water, the darkness...I was excited to enter the building at the end of the path...There, I would be able to sit and watch the water without feeling like a nomad. As I got towards the building though, I noticed the two teenagers inside. Making out on the bench. Guess I didn't need to worry that the other lone car in the parking lot belonged to some creepy murderer guy who was just waiting for some single girl to walk by him.

I left. But not before walking the boardwalk, watching the small waves lap against the wood, and thinking about the kids in the outlook that were so crazy in love that they braved the 50 degree weather wearing only jeans and hoodies just so that their bodies could be closer to each other as they kissed in the moonlight. And I thought about them. Little did they realize that there is a girl years older than them, wishing for the moment they had.

I pondered where else to go, what to do. It's like that moment when you really want to talk to someone and maybe just be still with them, listening to your favorite songs on the radio and lying on your backs staring at the stars or a ceiling. But instead of that moment, it's the one that you actually find yourself alone in, so you have to make another plan. While the place I usually run to is the cemetery on the hill, that just didn't seem like the best decision at night and alone. I had decided to just walk Franklin Street, but then I saw the park...

It was peaceful. No one else was there. Even though it is surrounded on every side by streets with parked or driving cars, a traffic light adjacent to it, and there is no privacy anywhere in it, it was a sanctuary for me. Somehow, time stopped as I got out of my car and walked to the swing. Sounds dimmed, and the awareness of other living things around me faded.

I swung for a while. It probably looked ridiculous to people driving by, but I didn't much care. There's something about swinging that gives you the illusion of flying, being freed from the things that hold you down. And the beautiful part is that you are in control of it all. My favorite is to tip my head back so that on the back swing, it appears to you as though you're going to slam your head into the ground and snap your neck backward...but just before that happens, the arc takes you away from the ground and you head toward the tree tops instead.

My arms finally ached, and I decided that I was centered enough to go home. It felt good to work things out, so to speak, between God, myself, and the swing. Maybe next time, I will be in that little building on the edge of the pier. And if not, there is always Lafayette Park with its single swing.

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