And those who were seen dancing
were thought to be insane
by those who could not hear the music.
· Frederick Nietsche
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The Course of Empire

Swings are fun. Spinning around on a merry-go-round would just make me sick and a teeter-totter is a cruel joke to a fat old grampa. Swings are one of the few pieces of playground equipment that are fun for adults.

Paula and I talked about building a commercial grade swing many times. The old children's playset had swings but the chain length was too short for an adult to enjoy.

When the playset was removed, I remounted one of the swings to a crossbeam under the tree house. The chain length was a little longer which was nice. It was kind of thrilling to swing out over steeply falling terrain, thinking about the rusty old swing swivels that were made for a child. (Un)fortunately the fence we built along the north property line put an abrupt end to that swing.

When we built the wood fence, I thought of those big beautiful 6x6 cedar posts and the wheels started turning. I didn't like having no swing at all anymore and it didn't take long to come up with a simple plan.

The location we chose is perfect, much better than the old playset or tree house. People on the swing are now close to the patio, where everyone else tends to be, lit by the same firelight at night. They still feel present with the people on the patio, close enough to engage in conversation, not like they went somewhere else to swing.

This was my plan for building the swing.

The swing was placed up/down the slope. I really don't like swinging into a hill. It always feels like I am getting too close to the ground and I have to crunch up my legs.

A little trigonometry proves a swing that swings into rising terrain, from its at-rest position, always loses altitude before it begins to rise away from the terrain. This could be changed if the rising terrain was sculpted to match the arc of the swing.

When the No Swett Fencing crew came to install the front fence, I asked the crew boss to set the two 14' swing posts a good 3' in the ground, adjusted so the tops were level with each other.

He used a little bubble level to insure the posts were straight. He stood back and told his guys what to do, to get the tops even, only by eye.

A couple of days later we lifted the cross beam into place with the help of Pepé the little mule (the name of our little utility tractor). It was extra heavy because we had attached the swing hardware, end caps, and metal plates (loosely). I used a bubble level to check. It was perfect!