That was when we lived in that cottage perched at the crest of a steep hill on the grounds of a small defunct summer camp, when we were biding time.
Halfway down the hill a rope swing dangled from the branch of a shagbark hickory. Three knots studded the waxen surface—the first in just the right spot for feet, the second placed for the hands of children of middling height, the third for boys nearly men.
The way it worked best was this: You ran down the incline, grabbed hold just above your knot as you passed down then hoisted yourself up, slamming your soles against the bottom knot as you swung out, the arc carrying you high enough to see the bay glittering by on the far side of the house at the bottom of the hill. Gravity pulled you back just when it seemed you’d go flying over the rooftop, past the seawall, alongside the wooden dock.
But as you were soaring up, just before the Earth forced you to be human again, you believed—almost—that you could perform a swan dive into that diamond-paved water.