Yesterday, on the way to the family holiday gathering in our hometown, we went by my childhood favorite tree. It's in the park, on the block next to the grade school. Two blocks from the big blue house where I lived from the second week of first grade until two weeks after high school graduation. I loved/love this tree.
It is big enough for a young person to stretch out across the bottom, book in hand while using a rolled up sweatshirt for a pillow. Or four elementary school girls to fit inside- toes touching, giggling, playing hand-clapping games or talking nonsense. Two middle school kids could share secrets stretched out side-by-side.
As a teenager I would climb out on the roof outside of my bedroom window, the tree top could be seen from there, sticking out beyond the church bell tower that was kitty-corner from our house. And during the summer I was fifteen, I would often sneak out at midnight to meet a friend at the park. We would play on all of the equipment- swinging, climbing, sliding, and then hang out in the tree (he was very tall so we'd have to bend our knees around each other) and imagine the possibilities of things being different in our worlds, as we stared at the stars through the leaves.
Last year, I went to visit the tree before my dad's wife's memorial, it was held at the community center across the street (it's a small town). I climbed in and had a think about things... present and past, and was glad to know it could still hold me.