By Shirley Hay (Winnipeg, MB)

The Teeter-Totter

It was as tall as our hayloft on one end, and every few inches were two sharp spokes of rusty metal that curved ever so slightly, like an eyelash.  The spokes came out of a narrow chain that ran from one end of the contraption to the other, and it was framed by a strong metal railing.  I carefully examined the end on the ground, and then glanced upwards, my eyes squinting as they found the other end dodging between the sunbeams.  I didn't actually know what the thing was for, but it was a good thing my cousin was coming from the city.  I needed a partner if I was going to make myself a teeter-totter.

 It took us some time to get it just right, but we soon discovered it was all in the physics.  With one of us balanced on one end, the other could climb on toward the middle, and then, with pure vigilance, scale up the chain to find her seat.   Somewhere on that climb, we found the centre of balance.  One would begin to fall, stomach lurching, knuckles white, legs scrambling to find the ground before the insult of the impact found her.  But during one young girl's decent - the other began her ascent, arm hair standing against the wind, dusty feet dangling below, the house growing smaller, the prairie sky - even bigger. 

It was magnificent.

My brother glanced at us from the porch window.  It's a bale elevator, he yelled.

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