Elizabeth’s Swing

Photo by Cathy Monetti

Last week was an incredible week. I worked on location in charming Beaufort, SC. Blissful sun. Riverside dining. Stunning lowcountry locations. A fantastic Emulsion Arts crew. As much fun as I had, it was nice to come home on Friday.

My friend Cathy was kind enough to drive us down so when we got back to Lexington Friday afternoon, I was itching to hop in my car and head home to Forest Acres. And then Cathy asked me if I wanted to go see Elizabeth.

You probably don’t know this but Elizabeth is a tree. I read about Elizabeth on Cathy’s blog months ago. I was aching to meet Elizabeth. Mostly for her swing that inspired one of my favorite sentences ever.

Photo by Cathy MonettiSo off we went. Home would have to wait just a little while longer.

We moseyed across the neighbors’ yard, home of Elizabeth’s human friends, said hello to the dogs and there she was. She was just as beautiful as Cathy said. So singularly tall and graceful with thick strong roots. And there was that swing. Flat and wide with thick brown braided ropes that reached far up into the leaves.

You can’t look at a swing like that without trying it out. Well, you could just look at it but why on Earth would you? I hopped on and Cathy started to push.

Once I got going it was pure joy. No playground swing can ever compete with the long, graceful glide of that swing. It’s an entirely different level of lightness.

Contented and quiet, I swung under Elizabeth for a few more minutes, then dragged my heels to slow down. When I finally came to a stop, I sat there for a few minutes and savored the swing of that incredible swing. When I finally made my way to the car, the swing of that swing stayed with me. I was especially thankful for the inner peace Elizabeth gave because I was now tired, ready to be home and stuck in Friday afternoon downtown Lexington traffic.

Of Elizabeth, Cathy said, “The swing of that swing, it goes on forever.” She was so right. The most precious thing to me is that while the ride itself was delightful, what really sticks with you is the freedom of the slow, steady glide. It’s pure, smooth and so long you can feel it hours, days and, I bet, years after you come to a stop.

What a tremendous gift for anyone who has the privilege of meeting the tree named Elizabeth.

On my nightstand: Great Book List

Heading for a vacation soon? Need something to occupy your mind for a few hours? Here’s list of book recommendations from avid reader and friend Cathy Monetti. I can vouch for about half of these books. Excellent reads. Pick a few up for your next trip!

1) Cold Mountain
2) The Red Tent
3) On Agate Hill
4) The Poisonwood Bible
5) The Kite Runner
6) Eat. Pray, Love
7) Water for Elephants
8) Evening
9) The Year of Magical Thinking
10) East of Eden
11) Jane Eyre
12) Cannery Row
13) Cry the Beloved Country
14) A Prayer for Owen Meany
15) Colony
16) Wicked
17) The Shell Seekers
18) The Great Gatsby
19) Oral History
20) One Thousand White Women
21) Charlie Bland
22) All The Little Live Things
23) The Unlikely Lavender Queen
24) The Prince of Tides
25) The Help
26) Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
27) The Happiness Project
28) A Moveable Feast
29) The Elegance of the Hedgehog
30) Born to Run
31) Olive Kittridge
32) The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
33) Loving Frank

What have you read lately and loved?

Here’s something you can do today.

I planned a post today about logos. I am sure it was just fine, but this post from my hero caught my eye. Since she’s been kind enough to share a lesson I taught her, I’ll take this opportunity to share one that she taught me.

Most people wouldn’t give a fast-talking, nervous high school kid a meeting. Or for that matter, a job. So since that day, I have always made sure to take time to talk to people about what I do, what I like about it and the many challenges of this career. Some people may never go on and choose this as a career, but there are always those who might. There may be one person out there who needs a little encouragement and direction in a field where they are both often in short supply.

Every time I meet with a college student who thinks they may want to work in advertising or someone who is trying to decide whether to choose between creative or account management, I am reminded of one meeting that changed my life forever. One of those meetings gave me a lifetime mentor and cherished friend. There’s always time for that.

The next time you get a call like that, carve thirty minutes out of your schedule. It could be a worthy long term investment.