I have tire swings hanging from every old maple tree in my yard. It is the first and only outdoor “toy” I had for years. It was 1968 and I was two. A huge tire swing hung from the hug Maple tree in our back yard and I could barely reach the opening of the tire. My brother was too little to even attempt to use it and that made me happy.
We lived deep out in “the woods” on the outskirts of the village on 25 acres. When my father bought the property in 1964 there was no power or water and the half mile road to our mobile home, off the main road, was not paved and made for very interesting travel in the pouring rain and snow.
My father hand dug the water well which became the home of the very first fish I caught, a small gold fish that I believed lived forever. It had a large round field stone hand built wall around the opening at the top, complete with a huge bucket on a long rope hanging from a wood cross bar above. This is how we retrieved water until my father dug and ran all the water and electrical lines. Every single day we lived there I leaned over the well wall, protected by a large rebar cement grid, to check on my fish.
We had chickens, pigs, a Christmas tree farm, barn, sand pit, apple tree and a cow named Elizabeth. The first time I climbed into the opening on the tire swing and kicked against the huge maple tree to “push off”, I felt the weightlessness of flying and freedom. I was able, every day from age two to five to experience flight and freedom but all the while being cognizant and aware that the maple tree was a potential serious hazard to me and my body if I lost focus for even one moment. My little legs and arms sustained some very respectful scrapes those three years.
I never quite realized until recently what an important life skill, that became unknowingly intrinsic to me, being able to be in control and out of control at the same time would be…with no help or assistance from anyone and that real suffering is the cost of wisdom and emotional, psychological, spiritual and physical muscle.
Why do I have tire swings hanging from my trees now that my kids are all grown? Well, I am sure there is some deep Freudian meaning attached and that’s okay. But in the back of my mind I hear a famous line from Field of Dreams, “built it and they will come”…..grandchildren that is.
Written by Margaret Von Seggern, 2021
photo.Margaret Von Seggern.2019