Written and Illustrated by
Wendy Leonard Dedicated to John and Emily
Jane Gilbert, editing
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 giftâ€™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 â€“ along with
many others â€“ 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.
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, â€œUp in your swing I felt like a child again...â€?
...or â€œI want to live more like the way I felt in the swing.â€?
hose who want to swing would do well to ask our son Toby to be their pusher.
He is unanimously acclaimed our best â€“ his 6'7" height determines his ability. Itâ€™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
swingâ€™s arc; one feels that right there is the place where true flight can begin â€“ 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.