Remember how a swing used to make you feel? I remember. As a child, I used to swing so hard I made the swing set rise off the ground with every push. Higher and higher, harder and harder, till I felt I could touch the sky. It was my first feeling of being free. This must be what a bird feels like when it’s flying. My cousin lived in the country. She had this big old tree swing. It was a worn-out tractor tire. You could wind it up and it would spin and swing. By golly, if you weren’t dizzy when your turn was over, it was no one’s fault but your own.
Then, as a young mother, a swing was a life saver. It never failed to help comfort a little one. But soft, slow swinging was best here. Gone was the exuberance of youth, replaced instead by a slow, steady pace, until they reach the age when you push them on a swing and then they learn to swing themselves. You remember the freedom they feel. Just watching them and listening to their laughter fills you once again with a sense of joy.
And just recently, I made use of Adkins Arboretum’s swing. There are two, actually, and they can be found in the meadow behind the Visitor’s Center. As I sat there swinging, I remembered how much I loved a swing. I slowly watched an overcast sky turn even darker. A storm was coming. It was following the bay, as it so often does here on the Shore. The hot, muggy air was replaced by a refreshing cool breeze. One last push on the swing and I headed in, not wanting to get soaked. Take a trip to the Arboretum to enjoy the swings yourself. It’s worth it.
by Diana Beall
Visitor Services Assistant
**The swings mentioned were created by Baltimore artist Marian Glebes as part of the Arboretum’s seventh biennial Outdoor Sculpture Invitational, Artists in Dialogue with Nature. The exhibit is on view (and the swings are available for swinging) through September 30.**