Marveling at a Tree Swing

Last night I pulled up my driveway and noticed my neighbor in the
backyard near the property line. I forgot that a few weeks ago he
mentioned putting in a few swings for his girls to swing on. A tree,
that is technically mine, has several large branches about 50 feet up
that can hold the weight.

And here is where he and I differ. I
didn’t think much about it, but I would throw some rope over the branch
and fasten the swing accordingly. If I didn’t get the spacing right,
then so be it, we’d figure out a work around. But my neighbor has
several ropes out and some lines as well. Except these ropes weren’t
the swinging type, they were the kind you find on a rock climb. My
neighbor devised a pulley system to hoist himself up to the tree branch
using his car as the lever. His wife drove their Toyota Highlander as
his kids alternated watching and doing homework.

This was so
surreal to me. He had a harness on in my back yard. His car was slowly
elevating him to the branch. There was nothing to catch him if he were
to fall. And yet there he was, 50 feet up attaching sets of chain
around the branch at the perfect distance apart. He just kind of
floated there until he commanded his wife to lower him slowly (she went
a little faster than he’d like). Although he couldn’t do it in time for
the sunset, his kids did enjoy their first swings, even if it was in
the dark.

I spend time considering covergent and divergent
thinking. I work with people to find practical solutions in a system
view. I think I’m different because I don’t componentize my efforts –
my time horizons tend to be over six months in delivery. I usually have
very little direct control over any particular part of the players in
the solution I’m striving for. And I’m comfortable in that type of

My neighbor wanted a tree swing for his girls and learned to fly in less than a month to make it happen.


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