The Joy of...Swinging

No, not that kind - get your mind out of the gutter.
I'm talking about swinging from doorways; from curtain poles; on rope swings; in a hammock; on your chair; from the landing in stairwells; from a tree branch, from anything that entices you. Like the hand-railing outside a front door I saw a little boy swing freely under - and having the time of his life.
And why wouldn't he? Swinging - with legs-a-dangle and feet wiggling - brings out both our apishly primitive and childish sense of self.
We can feel like we're defying gravity on a swing - using just our bodyweight and determination to launch ourselves into the air, across the park, to the sky... Or we can help someone else do this, performing what we called an "under high" - pushing someone on a swing then, still fully upright, running under it and pushing them skywards. Or you could live on the edge and try a "nightmare" - lying face up on the ground while someone else swung (standing on the swing or things would undoubtedly get messy) over you. They were simpler times...
And we would be swung round and round by our hands in the garden in a sort of dizzying DIY theme park ride; or be swung side to side lying in a bed sheet.
Swinging is just about the closest thing we will get to really flying - probably every person's most longed-for superpower and most common subject of dreams.
I can remember, oddly, seeing a 'making of' thing about the film The Mummy, and how for the sandstorm scene, the actors jumped from a giant swing to make it look like they were spewed out from the sandy hurricane...and thinking how amazing it would be to do it too.
And then of course there was the awesome 'Hang Tough' from Gladiators, though I imagine having 16 stone of Lycra-clad muscle trying to hurl you to the ground takes the magic out of it just a little.
Of course it's not all fun and games. If You've Been Framed, or YouTube, or personal experience (just a couple of months ago I fell off a chair whilst swinging) have taught us anything, it is that chair legs can buckle, branches can snap, ropes can break, our grips are rarely as tight as they need to be and gravity will bring you back down to Earth. But bones heal, bruises fade and embarrassment-flushed cheeks cool. And risk is always part of the joy anyway, part of the excitement, part of the childish thrills.
If it is more adult ones you're after, all you have to do is Google...


Popular Posts