Looking out my friend Chris's window at this ancient apple tree made me think of trees that had been important in my life. Yes, certain trees are memorable!
As a toddler, I had had a circle of bunnies, birds and squirrels as imaginary friends. I was a lonesome girl, as we lived in the country and all I had was little brothers. Before I was old enough to get on my bike and ride to Trisha's, I went to the woods for friends. Then I discovered books. I fell into reading and lived vicariously as Heidi, Anne of Green Gables, etc. The most wonderful place to read was behind my grandparents' old orchard, on a rock ledge covered with moss with a tall white pine at my back. The sun dappled down through the boughs and branches. I could see the goings-on at the farm. Mostly, I just poured over those books and imagined...until a bobcat ran past me one day, close enough to touch! (I'd rather have been standing up when that happened!)
After that I found an old apple tree in the orchard that I could climb and I fit right into the angle of the first branch and the trunk. It became my new reading nest and my horsie, too. I wasn't all that interested in horses, but that tree made a good one. The orchard was eventually cut down to grow grass for heifers and later, for ponies.
When I was 20 and in love with Joe, we climbed Shingle Hill and got lost in the juniper bushes. I didn't know which way to go, so I climbed another pine tree. This one had big heavy branches all the way down, so it was easy. I got all the way to the top, got my bearings--and the branch broke under me. All the way down, each branch deposited me onto the next one without harming me. I landed at Joe's feet, laughing. Joe and I didn't last, but I'll bet the tree did. These old knees make climbing Shingle Hill but a memory.
When I was 24, I moved to Denver, made some friends and spent many a day discovering the lovely trees in Washington Park. Somewhere I have a picture of me up in one of those trees, big snaky black trunks and branches. I loved the evergreens of Colorado, and even lived in the towns of Evergreen, Pine and Conifer.
Several years ago Mom and I went to Oregon for my cousin's wedding, and we took a drive down into Northern California and back up the coast. After driving for quite a while in Oregon, we went over Grant's pass, heading Southwest. I turned off the main road for a change of pace and we found ourselves in a redwood grove! Mom got out and hugged a tree, first thing. We were awed and spellbound. We went into every grove we could find, took lots of pictures that didn't come out, and enjoyed our trip immensely! Driving through Northern Idaho last spring, Trisha and I found an old cedar grove at a roadside rest area. The hush and peace of the place reminded me of the redwoods and had us charmed. Could gnomes and fairies live in the holes?
Back here in Western Massachusetts, I fell madly in love with my old home territory all over again, and it was the trees! The spring fluff of new baby leaves and soft red maple buds that make my eyes water with allergies. The heavy summer maples, some with brown leather-like leaves. The sycamores-their mottled bark captivates me, and they have these dangling balls like ornaments at the very tops. What could be better that the yellows, oranges, reds, browns and sometimes pinks and wines of the autumn leaves? The sap will be running in another month and a half or so, maple syrup time. That means Spring is on its way, and the cycle of life goes on.
Have you hugged a tree today?