Up in the canyon there was a swing.
A hand-fashioned thing hung by two rough ropes (jute-rough) from the stout limb of a tall tree. The plank for your bottom was an old fence board and there were fat washers that at one time were probably shiny silver. The tree stood near the edge of a small butte, and the drop as the ground abruptly shifted levels was probably a good ten feet down, mostly vertical (maybe 80°). When you got going you’d swing wide over that cleft in the land and your feet would dangle above the tall yellow grass that lay below.
Like an ocean, the seedheads stretched to the road at the property line and represented the end of the domesticated earth and the beginning of the untamed wilderness. I would pump my legs wildly and arc out with an ache for the unknown. I wanted to get out there… into the swaying grass and disappear. Maybe flatten a little circle and make myself a hovel, setup camp and hunker down for an evening, wear out a flashlight and listen, afraid, to the noises of night. Never did though.
We stayed there for a week and I was on that swing most evenings. Back and forth. Out from the known and into the unknown and back again.
Over and over again over the abyss and always back to the middle where my feet could touch the ground.