You already know I'm a firm believer in the importance of benches - anywhere and everywhere. Our yard and gardens now are practically littered with them (the best kind of littered). Well, I suppose it's no surprise that hammocks and swings are right behind benches in my backyard love life. There can never be too many, now can there?
All spring and summer I've been saying out loud, thinking to myself, and asking Steve to build a new swing for Ani. She outgrew horsie at the end of last summer, sadly, and all the round tree swings are just a little too tricky for her to manage. She just needs a spot to sit and swing (who doesn't?). Each time I mentioned it to Steve, I saw the slightly panicked look in his eyes that said, "a swing would be great, I'd love to make a swing, but how about I cut that firewood I need to so that we don't all freeze this winter?" Right. That.
And so it went, and here we are in the middle of July and she still didn't have her swing. Until last week, when Steve and the big boys were away. It wasn't until then, as I was moving one of the benches to mow around it, that it dawned on me. What's the matter with me? I can totally make a swing! Geesh!
I know, a swing. A simple swing. Adelaide could make one, likely Harper too. And yet, I still find myself, even after having made a few things, not thinking of myself as someone who can make anything with wood. It's funny, isn't it? The things we believe ourselves capable of, the things we think we can't do, or don't even think about at all. And the things, that after nearly forty years of not even paying any attention to, we discover that we really actually enjoy and are perfectly capable of. There's a whole lot of gender thoughts mashed up in this, of course. And there's a whole lot of empowerment in slowly letting go of some of those thoughts buried so deep I didn't even know they were there. The miter saw? It's not scary. It's just a tool, like any other. Which sandpaper to use on the sander? This is not rocket science.
I know, not exactly revolutionary thinking here, but it still surprises me sometimes, how these ideas become engrained, how deeply they can stay there, and how liberating and exciting it is when we become aware of them and let them go. Right now, I'm incredibly excited by the gift from a friend - thanks, Don! - of my own chainsaw. Ah, what freedom it will be when I want that birch branch cut just right for hanging in someone's bedroom for something or other. Or, when I want to spend a day out there limbing trees with Steve in the pasture, making things go along at a faster and smoother pace with the work of two adults, not just one.
Well, anyway....those are all the things that were on my mind as I made this simple little swing this weekend. Some leftover pieces of cedar, a little bit of our favorite stain (Vermont Natural Coatings), and a few power tools that I thoroughly enjoy using. She's as happy as can be. And so is her Mama.
And just as soon as that one was up, I set to work on another right away (because who wants to stop using the power tools once they're all fired up and ready to go? Not me!). Adelaide has requested one for the pasture, which I think is just brilliant. And then I've got my eye on this perfect maple tree deep in the woods that I wouldn't mind swinging on...and then.....