Lightening Up

By Laurie Granieri

August 1, 2016

Lightening Up

My brother and I grab hold of dangling metal chains fastened to schoolyard swings in this expanse of crabgrass, red dirt, goalposts, and hard bleachers, where he'd slapped the face of the sky with baseballs all those years ago, where I'd ducked every flying thing—small-town insults and countless foul tips.

He's 35, I'm 27, here in our hometown, deflated tire factory stuck like a rusty knife through the heart of Main Street, old-man bars slumped on every corner. Tonight we're too old for this swing set; no amount of darkness will hide it, too old and too heavy, him especially, with a pair of tree-trunk legs and a sloping belly. If he were so inclined, each night Mike could fold his hands atop his chest and sleep like a satisfied banker.

But we sink our asses onto the swings anyway. Hope and defiance loiter beneath the stars, we'll take our chances, because have you ever felt your own body fling itself into grace?

And remember when your car hit a dip in the road, made the descent, and for a few moments you could swear your stomach was lagging behind, weightless at the crest? That's us, with roller-coaster stomachs, toes reaching to touch treetops rising above basketball rims and broken asphalt.

That's us, a 450-pound package—forward, back, forward, back—trusting these chains to hold our bones, to lend us six buoyant minutes in a world bent on yanking every single thing back down to earth.


Photo, "swings" provided by Sara Matthews via Flickr's Creative Common license.

Comments (13) - Post a Comment
A perfect moment, fully rendered.
Mary Scherf at 8:26am EDT - August 1, 2016
This is truly a beautiful thing. Wow!
Elizabeth Hilts at 8:35am EDT - August 1, 2016
Beautifully written. I can imagine this scene and feel the excitement and the feelings of grace being as you were lifted to the sky!
Jennifer at 9:16am EDT - August 1, 2016
So much to love in this ... "old man bars slumped on every corner" ... "hope and defiance loiter beneath the stars" ... "a world bent on yanking every single thing back down to earth." Such lovely use of language and metaphor.
Carol D Marsh at 9:17am EDT - August 1, 2016
Perfect word choices and lovely image. What a wonderful memory with your brother.
Hayley at 9:26am EDT - August 1, 2016
Wow. Love how you showed this moment, and the yearning for grace and freedom in "a world bent on yanking every single thing back down to earth." Beautiful and strong.
Joanne at 9:34am EDT - August 1, 2016
How you use words and images! I stopped everything and read it again, and then again.
Charles Paolino at 9:34am EDT - August 1, 2016
A perfect beautiful moment, perfectly captured! Thank you
Jane Turner Goldsmith at 9:59am EDT - August 1, 2016
I am picturing my own childhood playground; thank you!
Sue Repko at 3:42pm EDT - August 1, 2016
Gorgeous. I often wonder about being yanked "back down to earth." Sometimes I feel as they we're beckoned to experience a mediated life that is not exactly of this earth.
Seth LaJeunesse at 6:45pm EDT - August 2, 2016
Love it. Perfect
Ryan Daily at 4:08pm EDT - August 8, 2016
Love it! All the small towns of all the Earth pulling us back.
Kenny A Chaffin at 11:17am EDT - August 9, 2016
Brought back a lot of memories. Loved the descriptions of my hometown. Great piece!
Sue at 10:19am EDT - September 18, 2016

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