Wednesday, September 10, 2008


A swing in the country looks so inviting. The entire scene could be from a postcard -- the swing is just a chain that hangs from a tree, with a board at the bottom of the loop held in place by two holes. It's a warm sunny day, no wind, one of those beautiful days that seem to appear right after a big storm, and the stream that runs underneath looks so tranquil.

"Emelia should get on it."

"She can't hold on by herself."

"I'll go on with her."

"No, I'll do it."

I sit down and put Emelia on my left hip, keeping my left arm on her. I hold the right side of the chain, Emelia takes the left and holds me with her right hand. I gently push off the ground and swing out over the stream. Back and forth and in circles we swing, never very far or fast, just for the sake of motion. The camera is out trying to capture both of us, but Emelia is frequently looking in the wrong direction. She's enjoying herself, looking back at the tree, the bank of the stream, Kathy smiling at her. An occasional hand comes out and pushes us, but it's never a hard push.

In an instant the board flips to vertical, and down we go into the stream. There's no time to react, it's all instinct keeping the grip with my left hand on Emelia. She never touches the ground, just remains aloft while my other three limbs are in the mud. Emelia starts to cry, but she's physically fine -- she has a couple of red marks from where I hold her tight, but they're gone by the next morning. She's scared, but she gets over it before too long. Soon enough, she's more worried about Daddy, and that he's ok. I reassure her that I'm fine despite my muddy legs. I get a few abrasions and my pinkie's a bit banged up, but she doesn't notice those (and I'm certainly not going to point them out).

We head back, ready to enjoy the rest of the day engaged in safer activities.