Amherst

By: Sara Olson

There are two oak trees.

 

Never mind the white birches and pines and the earthy, coppery, leaf-strewn floor of the wood.  Notice rather the bright loops of twisted, yellow rope that coil around the oak trees’ upper trunks and run betwixt them like a bright, sunny tightrope.  Hanging down from the middle of that tightrope, quivering slightly in the breeze, is a blue-green monkey swing.  You were never sure why they called it “monkey” since it looked nothing like a monkey to you – more like a tethered flying saucer, waiting for you to jump aboard, grasp the rough, fibrous rope between your fingers and push off.  Those hearty oak pillars kept you grounded while you spun, twirled, bounced, soared between them, pumping higher and higher until the house with the turquoise shutters seemed upside down, and you could stand on the sun-dappled treetops.

 

Sometimes though, you would sit quietly, rotating slowly between the pillar oaks, listening: songs of birds, crickets and cicadas, the rustling of chipmunks and that other sound. Of a live wood breathing. The oak trees seemed closer to you on those days; you could trace the lichen on the bark and rub the soft moss with your fingers.  The moss didn’t mind wet, salty fingers.  There you would hang like the pendulum of a grandfather clock, whose swing, no matter how hard you wished it, could not halt.

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