As a child, I always enjoyed clambering up the nearest chair, table, or couch. Indeed, my mother told me a story about how she found me holding on for dear life one day after the chair and various accouterments I’d piled on top of it gave way leaving me with only a shelf to grasp.
So, it was not unlikely that I would strike up a friendship with a tree. Yes – tree. You see this tree was special in many ways. Set deep into the back of our yard, it offered me privacy, while still being in my mother’s sight. It’s branches offered shade and a place to call my own. I spent many an afternoon in that tree as I grew from child, to adolescent, to teenager.
Stretching out from a few feet above the ground, the first branch, sturdy and strong, offered a good foothold. Winding around to the right, the second branch was the most fun. Grasping the trunk, I would stretch until my legs could hook around and then I’d swing the rest of my body onto the beckoning limb. Sometimes I’d just sit there awhile, and sometimes I’d swing around and hang upside down, swinging back and forth. (No way could I do THAT now.)
About 2 ½ feet above my swinging branch was a group of four branches that formed a perfect pocket to sit in. Ensconced in these branches I pursued my love of books. I read all the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and Cherry Ames books I could get my hands on. I read The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, and The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper. I devoured book after book after book. In high school I read David Copperfield by Dickens and The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne.
I studied biology, learning the different parts of the cell – mitochondria, ribosomes, cytoplasm, vacuoles… and I did my math – Geometry proofs. Adjacent angles in a parallelogram add up to 180 degrees!
In my climbing tree I experienced peace and tranquility. Nature was my music, and the tree my confidant. Loyal to a fault, it never, ever told my secrets.