Come on out. Have a seat. Yes, this is a porch swing. No, you’re not too old to swing on a swing. Move the swing, glide the glider, swing in the hammock chair, just sway in the mild summer breeze. Every step a mother-to-be takes swings her unborn child in a somewhat more complex way, and even as adults we have to satisfy this pre-embryonic need to be rocked to sleep, or at least to peace. Watch lovers, young and old, cuddle on a porch swing or in a two-person hammock, often with one partner’s head resting on the other’s lap. See a father and his young children snuggled up on a chaise, father holding his children as if never to let go yet shifting ever so slightly as if it’s his turn to carry the children inside him. See a grandmother sit in her recliner or rocking chair and hug her afghan that she made when her grandmother taught her to knit or crochet.
What have all these people in common? They have managed to carve out a niche of time to return to the womb and regroup. Even Jesus of Nazareth said to Nicodemus, “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3, NIV*) Although He was speaking of a higher, eternal rebirth, the rejuvenation of which I speak is more down-to-Earth. Of course, reentering one’s birthmother is impossible, but a womblike state has been scientifically proven to help prematurely-born and low-birth-weight infants to both survive and thrive. Even as we get older we still have the need to sway, supported, to a certain natural rhythm, to feel as if we fly (or at least float).
Don’t believe it? Swing on a porch swing for about an hour or so. If you’re not asleep, I can almost promise you that you will remember the most pleasant day or days of your life. Can you taste the grapes from the grapevine in your grandfather’s backyard, their earthy, foxy aroma flooding your nose and brain with a flavor store-bought grapes can’t even begin to match? Does your cat jump into your lap, curling up on your favorite comic book? Are you sipping the iced tea you just made? Do you feel like going to the dollar store and getting a bottle of soap bubbles so you can deplete half the bottle in one day blowing soap bubbles, most of which tend to burst immediately but a few of which seem to enter outer space? Does the neighbor’s nine-year-old daughter dare you to jump into the old pond by the old apple orchard, even though there’s more algae than water in the pond? Are you ready to chase the ice cream truck with about fifty other children on your street? Have you just introduced your new child to his or her first outing in the sun, the baby freshly bathed and dressed in a sunsuit and lying on a blanket beside you? Is it your honeymoon morning, you awakening for the first time next to your brand new husband or wife? Wherever your true bliss is, feel free to go there with your porch swing as your car and the grapevine as your road.