When we spotted the first swing a couple of days ago, hanging from the limb of a tree on Steiner Street, we didn't think much of it.
When we saw a second one, a block or so away, it made us smile.
But then we saw a third. And got wind of a fourth. And now we're thinking, what exactly is going on here?
It seems someone has been busy in recent days installing swings around the neighborhood. There's the one pictured above, outside the Star Lynn salon on Steiner. Then there's this one, just a few trees north, outside Edo Salon:
Two or three blocks south, there's this one near Hermann Street:
We thought maybe this was just a Steiner Street thing, until we came across this pic by Instagram user ottermind, taken on Laguna just south of Haight:
And those are just the four we know about — there may be others.
So what's this all about?
One clue may lie in the word written on the seats of all four swings: "unless".
Unless what? Your Google search is as good as ours. (And ours turned up nothing.)
San Francisco is no stranger to sudden swings. Last summer, a collective known as Oh San Fran installed swings around San Francisco "as part of an ongoing Happiness Project aimed at a loss of youth." One of the project's collaborators, Jeff Waldman, then went on to install 50 swings in Los Angeles this past summer, along with other similar projects in Panama and the Marshall Islands.
So, are these Lower Haight swings a project of Oh San Fran, Waldman, or some other playful pranksters? We don't know.
As Haighteration reader Diane Z. put it via email:
"I would like to think they are a Lower Haight Christmas Miracle - and/or just a symbol that even our trees are so happy that they spontaneously give birth to swings for little (and big) children."
Perhaps, Diane. Perhaps. But until someone steps forward to claim credit for the swings, we'll all just have to remain in suspense.
Kinda like this guy.