Creative response to the poem:”Swing Valley” by Frank Gaspar
Prompt:What do these texts suggest to you about the ways in which individuals pursue or compromise their happiness?
Theme statement: An individual’s pursuit of happiness is dependent upon the ability for individual to make changes to a familiar routine. It is through this new found change, can one taste the fruitfulness of life.
Summer. Slumped over my bed; watching the soft clouds graze lazily through the blue sky; the large elm tree stationed in front of my window – bursting with life; the delicate, sweet aroma surrounding me; I question-
the fragility of my happiness.
How easy it is for happiness to escape my grasp, yet, at times, almost forcing itself onto me.
Out my window, I soften my gaze at the landscape of my backyard. The proud elm tree has always been a hassle; big and mighty, it took up more than half of our backyard. One day, my dad wanted to “utilize the little space we have in our backyard” by “taking a nuisance and turning it into something useful”. I have seldom heard such technical terms come out of a man under such casual circumstances. As it turns out, he wanted to build a small swing: we hauled out the unused, yet, sturdy rope from the basement, and swung it around one of the branches. “Perfect”, were the words uttered from my fathers lips. Far from what I would call this structure – but it will do.
As the summer outgrew itself through the changing of leaves, my nose tickled with a noticeable change in the atmosphere – that previous playful breeze turned into a howling, angry mess – I too, found myself growing unhappier. Sometimes I would stare out of my window at the frail rope dangling from the mighty tree and wonder: “Why am I so uncontent?” I should be grateful for my blessings. Yet, with growing anxiousness, my happiness is sheds it’s own leaves.
Winter. Seasonal depression is what the doctors diagnosed it as.
Funny how my inward clockworks tick in tune to Mother Nature’s set schedule.
Once again, I find myself slumped over my bed. This time, however, I watch as the dense clouds drag along, like ink stains along the white sky; the large elm tree stationed in front of my window – weighed down by the heavy snow, and the overwhelming artificially sweet aroma of the candle downstairs, “Winter Wonderland” is the name. My gaze softens as I notice a squirrel desperately gnawing on the limp rope – trying to gather the last scraps of food before a long and hard summer. Perhaps that’s what I should do: grasp onto the last scraps of my happiness, experience a new adventure: break out of this never ending cycle of life.
I solidified a foolish, yet, simple plan. To do something against the steady stream of my life. Perhaps tonight, I climb down the elm and descend towards a new adventure: a friends party or a midnight stroll, wherever the wind takes me, I will head.
My mind was made. It was time. Unsteadily, I stepped on the elm trees branches and flew down the deep tangles; my hands clutching the rope as the bitter end trailed down like a plume of smoke.
Summer once more. Again, I am slumped over my bed. This time, watching the soft clouds graze lazily through the blue sky; the large elm tree stationed in front of my window – bursting with life once again; and the delicate, sweet aroma filtering around me once more;
I now understand the fragility of my happiness. The way in which I choose to perceive my life should not be handed to me by another, it is something I must actively choose to pursue, that is when I can grasp the fruitlity of my life.
It may be insignificant; however, the events of that winter night were blurry: as if I was trying to read from a weathered newspaper. But something about me changed that night. It was apparent from the glimmer rooted behind my eyes which made the doctor take me off my medications. There was a certain beautifully daunting quality in which I stepped out of my comfort zone, it allowed me to feel a release and then a pull of what I carried within me.
Perhaps it was Mother Nature herself, teaching me the measure of that unimagined freight called life.