Swing Set

Craig Rittase

© Copyright 2007 by Craig Rittase


While driving into work one morning, I stopped at an intersection for a red light.  While waiting for the signal to turn green and allow me to continue my commute to work, I looked at the house to my left.  It was an older, farm style house that looked like it could use some work to spruce it back up.  I wouldn’t say it was in disrepair, but in need of paint and possibly some fresh landscaping to make the home look tidier.  In the back yard I could see an old swing set.

Judging from the condition of the house, I assumed an older couple lived there.  I know I am stereotyping, but it was one of the thoughts that entered my mind as I looked over the property.  The swing set also looked like it had not seen active use in quite some time, as evidenced by some patches of rust.

I thought about the story the swing set could tell.  The joy the parents felt the day they set it up and put their kids on it for the first time.  The times mom and dad looked outside to see their kids swinging back and forth on the two sling seats that were attached to the “A” frame by two sets of chains.  How that swing set watched the kids grow through the years and eventually move out on their own.  Now that swing set spent most of its lonely days still, waiting for the grand kids to come by for an occasional ride on a sunny day.

Andrew Wyeth paints pictures of objects that he strongly associates with a person and calls it a portrait.  It is his style of painting a portrait because when Andrew looks at that object, he not only associates it with the person, he almost feels that it is the person.  His paintings are personal metaphors for the people in his life.

I wonder if the owners of that house have a similar feeling for the swing set.  Is it a portrait of their young children and a more youthful time in their own lives?  Does the rust that has accumulated on the metal frame represent the passage of time and the aging process that has been experienced by their entire family?

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