Did you ever have a Tarzan swing?

There are some things that are inherently dangerous, but if you start them early enough as a kid, you just don’t think about it.  Working with horses is like that.  Intellectually you know it’s potentially very dangerous, but when you grow up doing it, you just aren’t scared (cautious, yes, but not quaking and shaking). 

Tarzan I was not an athletic kid, but I loved climbing trees and swinging on a rope like Tarzan (sort of like Tarzan in the movies, anyway — I wasn’t exactly "speeding through the upper terraces").  Sure, you could fall out, but if you start young enough, you don’t think about that so much.  Then, after you’ve done it, you know you can and so you don’t worry about it.  That’s the point of getting Scouts through the Challenge Course.

Max_looks_up_3 When I was a kid, we had a big cottonwood tree in our yard.  It was too big around to climb the trunk, and the first branch was way high off the ground.  It looked to me then the way this tree does to me now.  My nephews need a Tarzan swing and this looked like a great place to put it.  When I was a kid, I’d throw a rope over the limb and climb up hand over hand ["Go play outside."].  I cheated today and used a ladder to reach that first limb. [Zoom in: I’m on that limb in the middle somewhere. Cousin Max is on the ground, looking up.] 

Knot_tying_2 The hardest part was getting from the ladder onto the limb.  After that, I felt pretty secure — there was no wind, and that limb is so big that you feel like you’re sitting astride a horse — it didn’t take much balance.  Then it was just a matter of "scooching" [I thing that’s a contraction of scooting and ouching.] out till I got where I needed to be.  I used parachute cord to haul up a piece of carpet to protect the limb, then some rope to tie the pivot ring, and finally the swing rope and the shackle to hold it.

Dismount_new_2 The second hardest part is the dismount, but I’d done it a million times as a kid.  Lean over, grab the rope with both ends, and slide off.  The hard part is pretending you’re a kid when you’re fifty-four.  Scouting helps with that quite a bit.   

Going_down_3 I’d hoped for more pictures of my descent, but I didn’t waste much time getting down. 

Safe_landing_3 After I hit the ground, I found that my adrenal glands had been working overtime.  I hope I don’t need to get excited again for a while.

Joe_swings_2 And here’s the finished product: cousin Joe swinging.  Cousin Max was swinging so fast I couldn’t get a picture of anything but a blur, so imagine a blur.

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