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The Frequency of Swinging

As we grow older, our bodies get stuck on certain frequencies, I think, or we become dented in such a fashion that the things that come to us from the world catch in those hollows, deflect and swirl about. The wear and tear of our movement through life make us less aerodynamic. I sat outside this morning, pushing my daughter in her swing. Dew cool and wet on the grass. A breeze twisting through branches. My daughter hums in her red swing and a slow calm settles upon her. Birds call from faraway trees. The neighbor is not yet out with his chainsaw or mower. Everything is quiet and settled.

This is what I relish, the settling. Even the neighbors chainsaw wouldn't intrude; it is still the noise of a solitary man at work. The neighbors on the other side, however, a couple come from a rich and concrete city have struggled for months to stamp their 14 acres into something else. I hear them beyond the line of trees they've thankfully left. I catch glimpses of their great machines through the leaves: yellow flashes of great claws, blistered with mud. I never see those hydraulic arms raise their jagged teeth and crash into the dirt to gouge out the ground. I never see that. Their industry is hidden, secretive, as is most destructive work. I hear it however. Deep into evening sometimes, the white fuzz of their bright lights haloing over the remaining trees, the movement of the machines stuttering the light.

My daughter is staring out at nothing, or perhaps everything. Who am I to say? I wonder sometimes if all the things that we see and think are already there, outside of us, a large river into which we occasionally dip. It's as if we can tune our bodies and minds to reveal the robust spice of the moments we find ourselves in. As my daughter finds delight in a yellow flower, I wonder if that delight originates in her or the flower. Perhaps each object carries within itself it's own full range of expression and it's our duty to tune ourselves to its being. Perhaps over at the neighbors the earth yields up its pain so a pond can find its own hollow.

My daughter is more open than I am. As soon as we had closed the door behind us, that calm loosened her features. In me, the loosening is a slow seepage of worry out of the ligature. My ability to tune to the moment is flawed. I hold on to the defeat of the rejection email I woke up to this morning. My daughter has forgotten her bumped head. She is far swifter to the next thing than I can possibly be. When we age, our tuning keys grow rusty and weak. Our bodies and minds catch on the frequencies of the past and in the tuning for what's immediately around us they are slow to latch. We experience with static.

But these mornings that I sit outside with her, pushing her gently in her red swing, wondering at the violence across the barbed wire and through the trees, listening for our other neighbor to fire up his smaller engines, I am somehow more fluid and less intractable. I sit on the swing next to her. She smiles at me and her eyes are startling. I push myself back, holding my body up with my feet planted against the grass and my daughter giggles at me before I raise my feet. There is a moment there, before I begin to swing, that the world is held in relief, that I am relieved, then there is a lurching forward and the world rushes into me.