This is the place.
Here in Indianapolis. I arrived late Monday, and I knew this was the place because of this outside.
Bernie is better known here as Blue.
Yesterday, I walked with him to a nearby park.
There we sat on a bench and watched a group of kids (and their puppy) play on swings.
These are special swings, a double swing designed for an adult (or bigger kid) and a small kid to sit and swing together. But the brilliant thing was watching how these kids, big and small (and puppy) played, and all the different ways they found to play with them.
Big kids would sit in the small kid swing, get stuck, yell, then find their way out. Small kids would try and balance on the big kid seat. They’d sit back and front and all different ways. Big kids climbed on top of the swings themselves, almost to the top, then grinned and came back down. The puppy sat in the small kid swing sometimes, and then run around yapping.
The beautiful thing about the swings is that they don’t tell you how to play, they just give you a framework to find all the ways you want to play. And as you make up your own ways to play, that’s most fun.
These are also special swings because they are a gift from Bernie to this park, donated by the manufacturers and other well-wishers.
The puppy ran up to us, as if she alone knew.
We sat under an oak tree as it started to rain.
We talked about laughter, and laughing with (rather than at) someone, and the moment.
Oak trees themselves are a marvellous construction of hydraulic suspension, as Rocky — Blue’s wife — had noted.
And Blue recounted an old Jewish folktale of an old man planting a tree, and being asked by a young man why he was doing that, if he wouldn’t be around to enjoy it. Because you plant a tree for the next people to come, said the old man.
Then the rain got really wet, oak tree or no oak tree, so we walked back.
I’m on a quest, the first stop to spend time with Bernie De Koven in Indianapolis, to exchange and make a game of legacy, for which we are also running a kickstarter — more here