The Porch Swing

I spent the better part of this afternoon contemplating the purpose of dreams. Why, I asked myself is the brain capable of creating this conscious manifestation of something that we desire when it is wholly impossible in reality? Cruel occipital lobes, flashing images that then elicit emotional responses, to no end. What, I ask you, is the point?

As an impressionable ten year old I watched a popular television show, in fact, loved the show, The Waltons. I wanted to be a part of that family in the worst way. I disregarded the hardship they endured—they loved one another for god’s sake! What else mattered? Nothing. I have this image in my head, of the mother and the father sitting on the front porch, gently swaying in a porch swing, his arm around her, her head on his shoulder, talking about the kids, the day…

And that is the dream I wanted. That image planted itself in my subconscious; that to me, to my little ten-year-old mind, was life the way it was supposed to be. There were problems, sure, but they worked them out together. Sometimes they fought even, which is what made the show so mesmerizing for me. I was seeing what a family was, what parents and siblings were like, who loved one another, and I was enthralled. I made up my mind that that was what I wanted.

Over the years I have fixated on the porch swing. It represented happiness to me. I had a dream of owning one, and the porch it sat on, and oh yes, I wanted a view too. Too much to ask maybe; I dreamed anyway. No one could take that from me.

But as the years went by it seemed to be more and more elusive, that dream. Divorce ended it, you might say. I have had glimpses of the dream, but I have to admit now that is seems unattainable. And that is sad.

So why does our brain hold onto images, embed dreams there that are physically impossible? This is what I asked myself today. I thought of Nelson Mandela, who let a dream sustain him for thirty years. I thought about people with disabilities who dream of normalcy. I thought of immigrants who come with dreams in their blood, who risk their lives to create them from mental image to reality. And many do manifest their dreams that way. So maybe that is their purpose. Dreams motivate us, propel us, provide incentive to us to look beyond the present and attempt to recreate what we can see so clearly in our heads.

I will be fifty in a couple of months. I have had people ask me what I will do to mark the occasion. Nothing I tell them over and over. But today I was inspired by my own grief at the dream unfulfilled to contemplate something so outrageous as to be stunningly perfect.
I will buy myself a porch swing, and I will put it on my little deck, facing the pine trees and the sky, overlooking the small pond. I will pour myself a glass of something, bring the dog out there with me, and I will rest my head on God’s shoulder, and I will settle a long-standing conflict that has been raging within me for decades.
And I will have my dream.
Quintesse Quintesse
51-55, F
23 Responses Apr 10, 2013

Plowjocky, That sure sounds nice, I'll admit. Cheers.

So? Are you swinging yet? I'm going to keep asking until you show me the picture! :)

I kind of lost my momentum, so to speak. I am resistant to sitting in it alone.

Errrr! Nooo! You should enjoy it alone. You should enjoy all you can alone. That joy is true beauty!!! *pushes to the swing*

Do you think it will mean as much to anyone else that's sits there with you?

Mrs Potts. What a stupendous idea! We can start an outdoor toasting club. People: grab your glasses, head outside--come back in later and share your thoughts!

I have a very small space that I can call my own these days, but I cherish every inch of it. So I sit out there every chance I get and I listen to MY birds talking to me, with my good dog by my side (she has mellowed with age, sits by my feet) ... and I find myself lapsing spontaneously into prayer at my good fortune.
I do not have the house anymore, or the spectacular view, and I am quite alone, much to my chagrin, but I am managing, and I am REALLY grateful for friends like you here because you encourage me and make me feel less like a loser.
Thank you!

Mrs Potts--
Thank you for relating to this. I am well aware that I am living in a fantasy world--that things are never as they appear, but it was a childhood dream that somehow carried over into adulthood. What can I say? I wanted the swing, and the loving husband, and I even wanted the make believe memories. I am starting from scratch over here you might say, and at 50 that is no small feat. But ...I have nothing to lose.
Thank you so much for your comment. Thanks for the birthday wishes. I will toast you.

What a great post! I am glad you are going to give yourself one dream you have always wanted. I wonder myself about dreams. There are so many different types - perhaps you have inspired a story in me. I think dreams are what the reality of our world is built on. Dreams and failure and persistence. I hope when you and God are sitting on the porch swing you will tell Him I am waiting in my tree or on a swing at the park if He is in the mood to settle things.

I have a feeling we are already friends.
The writing is somewhat of a compulsion and I have been doing it for a long time. But having someone say " I feel like I can connect with what you are saying" is about the best compliment someone who identifies as a writer could hope for. So thank you, thank you , thank you for that. You have given me a gift today with this. I am smiling. I appreciate YOU.

You contemplate things, are thoughtful with your words. I like your writing. I connect with it. I hope you and I can be good friends. I appreciate your thoughts.

I can see I'm not alone with my porch swing fantasy.
Of course the fantasy in its true sense implies that I am sharing the swing with another, but frankly I am tired of waiting for something that may never come to fruition. Better I feel, to manage my expectations and modify the dream so that I can at least satisfy my urges in this respect. Maybe I will find that the act of swinging brings me peace. I have a feeling it will.
Thank you SmartSweet and Mejhalak for understanding and for wishing me well. I wish the same for you guys too.

Thanks SquadronLeader
Sometimes I get a little caught up and I guess I am impatient too. I know t hat Juan is right and that I am not that old and that there is plenty of time for swinging, but I guess I don't think that way. I am more of a life is short kind of person, so rather than project into the future I tend to concentrate on the present. I'm not sure if that is good or bad.

Plus just because I start swinging now doesn't mean that I will always be alone in there.

And FormerWarrior. I think maybe I am a warrior of sorts, charging in there and grabbing my dreams. I just don't see the point in waiting any longer. The idea was always to share the swing with my love, but maybe I need to redefine the dream, or change the order of things. I don't know, but I guess I'll find out. Thanks for the offer of the pillow. Nice touch.

Oh, and the Waltons had to have been in their late 40's (at least!) when they were sitting on that porch swing.

When you're right, you're right. I guess I am impatient.

There's plenty of time after 50 for the porch swing dream to come true. You know that. Porch swings are meant for the post 50 set, right?
I want one. Someday. In about three years I'll be ready.

Keep on the sunny side.

Just whining over here.

This has given me much to think about in my own life. Thank you so much for writing it.

You are such a kind person. I sincerely hope you find your dreams as well, define them and manifest them. You deserve it. Thanks for this.

You are so inspiring; a philosopher either by nature or qualification I would guess???

A philosopher by nature I guess. It's all that thinking (and then writing). Thank you

I just like swings. But the idea of a porch swing is that you can both be on there together. But this way I get to put my feet up. This is also good, for now. I will get a lot of use out of mine because I like to be out there. But I also like the idea of kind of putting this dream to rest. It is not healthy, I've found, to hang onto dreams for too long without making a good faith effort to make them real in some way. This is not perfect, but it is a good start.
Thanks Lohla.

Now what you need is a tire swing! I associate that with *letting go* and being free. It spins and swings and you have to hold on tight. :)

Had one of those too as a kid, and I loved every second on that thing. I can still smell the rubber, feel the rope--thanks for reminding me. It is a really great memory.

Sweet story. :)
When I was little I always linked a porch swing with family. Quality time. Happiness.
I remember us driving by homes with porch swings and thinking such a simple thing made people "lucky." We were so poor that I never even bothered to ask my parents to get one- I knew that was out of the question..

I enjoy my porch swing now. :)

I have orchestrated a surprise......Richard Thomas (who is just our age btw) is coming over to swing with ya!

Don't toy with me...

The perfect gift, the perfect plan

Thanks. I'm glad I came up with it.

There is just something about porch swings isn't there? *smile* I adore them so much...and I see I'm not alone. This was such a lovely story Q. I'm so glad you haven't stopped dreaming...and I'm so glad you decided to share this story with us. Thanks so much. :)

I knew it wasn't just me of course. Time to quit dreaming though. Thanks

“There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” ~ Douglas H. Everett

So...swing baby, swing...

I think I am going to. I can always count on you to encourage me. Thank you.

Even after all these years, when I write a story like this one I am always so amazed that people understand me. <br />
I refer to television so much because I was really influenced by it as a kid. And now, as I age I am trying to figure out why I am the way I am, and I look for clues. I find myself attempting to figure out what has made me, me. So I look at dreams that I have held onto tightly for answers. I just always wanted to be loved, sincerely and unconditionally loved, and I have never had that. <br />
So, now--as I am turning 50? I am finally getting that it really is all all about me; that is I have to set the bar. I have to love myself and be kind to myself--quit feeling sorry for myself maybe, and then maybe I will find peace.<br />
So I will have my swing. I will attempt to fulfill my own dream, not relying on someone else to make it real for me. It is the only way. <br />
They say when you die it is between you and God. So, I am in good company after all.<br />
Thanks to all of you who understand this, who love 70's tv and who are kind enough to reach out to me (in my hours of need?) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I used to love the Waltons too. I loved the way the young and the old members of the family interacted with each other. It did represent an ideal. And I love your idea about the porch swing. That for me is a classic American image, straight out of a Tennessee Williams play! I'd love to see a photo when you get it!!

I will do that. Thanks for getting me.

This was beautiful...I too old The Waltons and that porch swing. It represents the same thing to me as well.

I knew I wasn't alone with this. Peace and love and a simple way of life is attractive, and seeing it played out every Thursday night (at 8) for me was addictive. I was imprinted.

Excellent. Do it! Please take a picture and let us see it too. :) I have had a vision, I guess you woukd call it, for at least ten years and I have no idea what it means. Its always the same scene, very detailed and absolutely nothing changes each time I see it. I have wondered for years why I continue to see it.

Pictures. Excellent Idea. Thanks