There is this old swing set in my backyard. Its mangled ropes sport about 15 insect cocoons and are earthy grey from many winters’ rain and summers’ sun. The seductive red has been worn down to a gummy pink, showing at parts it’s white plastic ribs. The fine, sanded wood offers splinters for those who dare to touch it. The scaffolding has rust and refuses to reflect any light at all. It’s my favorite spot at my house.
The swing set in question is surrounded by an orchard, grassy lawn and deserted garden. A garden that once housed a giant orange pumpkin that was the envy of all our neighbors – well at least it would be if our neighbors had ever seen it. But all objects, memories, regrets, and to dos are obscured by a large dignified Redwood tree towering over all like the eye of Sauron. As I pump my legs back forth, plummeting down and up, I grow closer and closer to reaching the top of the boundless, limitless tree. I mean I guess I don’t actually get that close to the tree, but I sure as hell feel like I do. I forgot everything and just remember and know that I want to reach higher and touch the top of the ever shrinking tree.
You aren’t suppose to be thinking about anything. So you end up thinking about everything. My friend told me about this article in the The New York Times about this guy who bought an Ipad. Whenever this guy had spare time, he would go on his Ipad to read the newspaper, check his email, or play games such as tap tap. He loved the device but had to return it because he stopped having any free time. He realized that it was at those times that you are doing nothing that creative ideas arise.
But it’s not when you are doing nothing that brilliance occurs, it’s when you are doing something that has no easily stated goal or purpose. It’s the times you stop planning and just live in the moment. And in many respects, my swing set acts as a great vehicle for coming up with great ideas.
Have you ever swung before? I know you must have when you were 8, but recently, have you? I really suggest trying it. I understand you are stressed out with finals and early application results coming out; I am too. But if you just sit back and swing, you realize how lucky you are that you have the opportunity to write essays about yourself and to find the area of two or three or n intersecting cylinders and to watch your friends play in basketball games. You realize how much you enjoy everything you do, and while at times like these, it may seem overwhelming, you have to remember how much you’d miss not having any of it all.