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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


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.


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.


hen our son and new bride

decided that they wanted us

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


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.


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.


heir children – along with

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


t is a highlight for visitors of

all ages. I sit and swing in it often.


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.


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.�


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.


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

the cares of the world seem to fall away.


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.


oly hope rises with you on your flight through the

leaves and the singing birds, over

dashing squirrels and woodland wildflowers.


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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