It’s funny how our brain stores certain memories. The specific smell of Christmas morning, the sound of leaves crunching under your feet, the feeling of excitement mixed with terror as you perform a daring feat; a distance launch off the school swing set.
I remember my elementary school swings pretty vividly. My butt on the black rubber seat, hot from baking in the sun all day (the swing. my butt was not baking in the sun all day), my hands holding tight to the chains that are the only thing anchoring me to the bar above as I fly back and forth, holding on for dear life. It’s been a long time since I felt the heat of that seat or the links in those chains, but I have never left that swing.
I was thinking about introductions today. About how life brings people and feelings and events in and out in such a rhythmic way. And I realized this feeling was one I had experienced before, just not in the same context. I’m moving forward into some new things and backwards into some old. Never settling into one for too long, and never exactly meeting in the middle. I swing forward, I buy my first washer and dryer. I swing backward, I become elated at the thought of spray painting flowerpots so they glow in the dark. Forward. I start becoming settled in my new town. Back. My heart wants more of my college and hometown. Forward. I learn how to be in silence. Back. I remember how cool it is to live with roommates. Forward. Back. New. Old. Introduction. Reintroduction.
Just as I swing forward and get used to the sights and sounds and feelings, I’m falling back into the old. I feel myself dropping and rising and I’m already beginning to pump my legs, using momentum to propel myself, quickly returning to the new. There are some things I think I will eventually stop the swing for. I will allow gravity to slow me down, finally dropping my feet to drag through the dirt and rest in the middle for a while. There are also some things that are going to be worth leaping for. Picking up speed with the knowledge that I am going to jump. Working up the courage to finally say that it is worth the risk, closing my eyes and letting go. Launching face first into the new, eyes watering and heart pounding, without looking back.