Have you ever sat on a swing, kicking higher and higher, as high and as fast as you can go before tipping your head back to watch the world sway in an upside down semicircle as the wind rushes through your hair? Totally forgetting where you are, who you are, and what you're doing… just enjoying that flying feeling of being free? Of course you have. Somehow I woke up this morning to that exact sensation, transported back in time to an afternoon I spent with the first boy who ever asked me out, T, and the first boy I ever asked out, J (although he said no to me, and I said no to him so we all just ended up just being friends really), when we cycled out to a spot in the woods where the guys'd regularly do their guy-scouty type things, like building campfires and toasting marshmallows, and well, putting up rope swings I s'pose - in the eyes of a 13 year old me, the coolest things ever. So there I was, having convinced them to take me with, albeit reluctantly. And I leapt onto the rope swing, suspended from a tree at a 60 degree angle to what should been level ground, but was instead a deepish-ravine like the picture below - I was absolutely terrified at first of how I'd get back down, but not prepared to admit so in the face of their crying, "haha, didn't think a girl could do it!" (I wasn't exactly going to humiliate entire girl kind now was I?!) And burying my fear, then, was the best decision of my life - what a sight it was as the air gushed past my ears and I swung out beyond the foliage of surrounding trees, and over an open field of flowering rapeseed.
I've had a fascination for swings since I was the tiniest baby - others had to be prised away from slides, peeled off the mini-roundabouts, but I'd happily sit swinging, probably because it was a safe seat to sit back and people watch (another love I haven't left) Even today, when out for a walk or a picnic, I beeline for the swings and it's my dream,
when I finally get a place of my own. I'm not sure what it is about swings, but that one afternoon on the rope swing is seared into memory - it's one of those 'happy places' in time which I know will bring a smile when I feel trapped in an endless tunnel of darkness. It feels like childhood came and went too fast, those carefree days when my only concern was if I was in the same P.E group as my friends or how much homework I had for that evening. But life's changed somewhere along the way and I've moved on, so too have my friends. Most of them graduate this year and while I'm awfully proud of them, it's also difficult to understand how we got from there to here - in between those summer afternoons of fun and evenings of house parties, lunchtimes on the school field and throwing notes to each other in class - when did we find the time to grow up?