8.17.11 Why Creatives Need to Swing From Birches Upon Occasion

This evening, once I let myself off work, or once my daughter politely asked me to stop working – “Papa, outside?” – I found myself at ease, my mind spacious as I pushed the wee tot in a tree swing.

“Go high!” she asked, and so I tried best I could to give her, with new baby in tow, that sense of lifting off the ground, of floating just above it, the sky flying by, and the wind in your favor. Or, simply put in her words, “Fun.”

The steady push and pull was as much a lift-off for me as for her, I think. It has been a busy day, one busy mostly between me and my work and frequent & urgent correspondence today with clients. For whatever reasons, things were “off.” But no matter. I tried not so much to push through as to handle, with as much grace and space as possible, whatever arose. But you sometimes don’t know just how much tension you hold until you release it.

And so the swing. The back and forth. The up and down. The earth spins. And we with it. What a relief to give in. For a moment, I thought of another tree swinger, ol’ Bobby Frost, and how his poem’s speaker says, ”

So was I once myself a swinger of birches;
And so I dream of going back to be.
It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood   45
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.   50
May no fate wilfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,   55
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.   60

So each and every day we need, we each deserve those moments when our feet lift off, when we feel the unbearable lightness of being, when we we feel more gracious space than the weight of time. When we do, we can then come back to walking, running, keeping balanced, feet on the ground, and know that to be earthbound is quite a beautiful thing.

What about you? Any light or momentary lift-offs today? Regardless, what were your day’s three highlights? Share them below – and let us know where you’re writing from.

See you in the woods,
The Three Highlights Guy


4 responses to “8.17.11 Why Creatives Need to Swing From Birches Upon Occasion

  1. I read some nonfiction, some essays by an author who seems to tease my muse. I set out to read as preparation, as a warmup for a writing assignment. I was gobbled up by the writing, lost my sense of purpose for being there, so much so that the end of the essay felt like a sudden cold burst of winter air, the kind that forces your next inhale to be gasped. I supposed I will need to reread this essay, this time more wary of the intention thieving phrases and words. What a gift!

  2. it’s good to have three highlights back again!
    1. starting the morning with lion’s breath, meditation and YAM time, oh yes! 2. basking in the tranquility of a quiet classroom, pre-student arrival next week, as i organized and concocted ideas.
    3. getting back in touch with my beginner’s mind as i swam some less-than-graceful laps in the pool this afternoon. the endurance and form will come with practice, i rest assured.
    ~ from michelle in guatemala city

  3. wheee….swinging is fun, especially when you tip back and see the sky. 1. lunch in the park amidst a busy day. 2. connecting with a patient/yoga instructor who was very interested in YAM and this new business I’m pursuing. 3. kitty time at the end of the day – she’s a snuggler….Heidi from Belmont, MA

  4. 1. Completing client work with relative ease amidst many obstacles
    2. Tending to the orchard while little girl and wife raced from sitting stone to sitting stone
    3. Helping my daughter lift off the ground for just a few minutes just as the sun appeared to come back down to earth
    – from Accord, NY (Hudson Valley)