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Written and Illustrated by

Wendy Leonard Dedicated to John and Emily

Thank You

Jane Gilbert, editing

©Copyright 2007

Mark Donaldson, design

Pale Pink Petals


O

n December 28,1991, our oldest son

John married Emily. One of their wedding gifts was a simple piece of 1x4 lumber

cut 20 inches long. It was the seat for a swing. There were two holes drilled near each end through which lengths of rope were threaded and tied off.


T

he heart of the giver was

revealed in a unique feature – a hand carved message, “Unless you change and become like little children ... Jesus.” I have never met the crafter and giver of this gift but have always loved him because his intent resonates with my spirit.


W

hen our son and new bride

decided that they wanted us

to become the gift’s custodians, I was thrilled.


T

hey lived in an apartment, but

fully intended to have a suitable tree in the near future. Fifteen years later we still have the swing.


N

ow John and Emily do

have trees at their home but swinging at our house is so embedded in their visits that they allow the swing to remain attached with a 50-foot rope to our huge old elm tree.


T

heir children – along with

many others – seldom leave our house without experiencing its gentle joy.


I

t is a highlight for visitors of

all ages. I sit and swing in it often.


W

hen people

come to my hillside wildflower garden, right next to the swing, they are always treated to a ride.


Even guests at luncheons and dinner parties are encouraged to hop on.


M

any have told me

swinging was the favorite part of their visit. They might say, “Up in your swing I felt like a child again...�


...or “I want to live more like the way I felt in the swing.�


T

hose who want to swing would do well to ask our son Toby to be their pusher.


He is unanimously acclaimed our best – his 6'7" height determines his ability. It’s just a matter of physics and his daring disposition.


A

strong push brings the rider out over the downward slope of the hill, where

the cares of the world seem to fall away.


S

omething happens high in

the air, at the crest of the

swing’s arc; one feels that right there is the place where true flight can begin – an infinitesimal nudge and you could be on your way.


H

oly hope rises with you on your flight through the

leaves and the singing birds, over

dashing squirrels and woodland wildflowers.


S

omehow... I believe the giver of this wedding present really did sign his name on his gift.


The Swing  

Story and watercolor illustrations by Wendy Leonard

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