My be-denimed legs pumped, pushing the fragile night air out and away, back to the sky from whence God breathed. I hung back in the swing, considering the coldness of the chain links beneath my clenched fingers. It was Sunday night, and I was spending a few moments in prayer on a playground.
Jonathan and I had walked from our house to the little park around the corner. It is a small park which includes the round-edged, plastic equipment which now dominates the majority of playgrounds in America (since someone somewhere decided metal slides and tire swings were dangerous).
I slid down the fireman's pole like a pro. At one point in my life, I was a "pole-topper." Not only were we required to drag our lithe, boney bodies up twenty-foot poles in P.E. class, but my dad required the same feat (faster) from my brothers and me on a weekly basis. I loved locking my ankles around the pole and feeling the twinge of nerve pressed against my shin bone as I propelled myself up. With each tug I became stronger. It gave me strength. It gave me pride.
Those poles can no longer be found on elementary school campuses. Children today, battling obesity and, what I believe to be worse and perhaps the origin of the former, a pandemic of lethargy, are the poorer for it.
But the swings remain.
Swinging is an extraordinary pastime. As a child, I used it as a way to burn excess energy before the end of recess, or to compete with my peers to discover who could fly highest. But as an adult, I find that five minutes on the swings is simply soothing. It encourages meditation with each pendulumic movement. I ask a question on my way up and find my answer on the way down. It is the rhythm of my heart, my mind. A pulse.
My prayers take on the form a chant in my head. Thankfulness. Confession. Thoughtfulness. Requests. Amen.
I have many dreams. Some I have related here in past posts. Some I keep locked away in a secret spot in my brain. Some I am still deciphering, trying to make sense of thoughts that seem to be way beyond my talents, way beyond my maturity level. But even as I rise to the daily challenges of adult life, climbing the poles set before me in my career, my marriage, my walk with God, I discover that the most peaceful times are those spent like a child. It is why I still watch old, innocent, black & white films. Why Jon and I run off to Disneyland whenever possible. Why I drink Capri Sun. Why I don't mind when my brothers (and no one else) call me "Aud."
It is why I occasionally visit the local park at twilight and run headlong for the swings.