As a child I had a tree. Utterly cliche, no? More cliche or less to say that I had several trees? Actually, sometimes my sister had them. Sometimes we shared them. But I had a favorite. Or two.
Just now I read in a book about a girl and her tree, well the book concerns a girl and quite often she finds herself in a tree. She speaks of the tree and how it has a spot just for her. She can sit on a branch with her back to the trunk and her feet dangling, or she can have her feet pulled up. She can see many goings on below her, from her spot in the tree. I thought, That is just the sort of story I have wanted to write. I have even started a story about a girl in a tree. But now I'm thinking, Well, it's been done. And done. And done again. Can there be a new story of a girl, or even a boy, and a tree? I mean, Christopher Robin lived in a tree. And nearly every Pooh friend, except for Rabbit. And Eeyore. And Tigger. What I mean to say is that Owl lived in a tree. And Piglet, I believe.
Would any person care to hear of another child in a tree? What about a nice Weeping Willow? Such a nice one with three main ways to get up it. One: boring, ordinary way (just grab what you can grab and climb); Two: acrobatic way (swing yourself up as if getting onto a gymnast's bar so that you go from standing, to hanging upside down, to flipped-over-the-top and then getting a leg up on the branch); Three: find the natural hidden ladder/step area and wind your way up. Then once you get up it, you have that magic spot, the spot made just for you, where it's comfortable to sit and swing the legs or to pull yourself all up and out of reach.
Two more great aspects of this tree happen to be that horses love gathering below it and waiting for you to drop leaves or pull down branches so that they can eat the yummy leaves; and, getting out of the tree can be just as fun as getting into it.
Then, next door, another willow. This willow has one main way up, pretty straightforward but not too boring. It also has a perfect seat, one that turns into the back of a horse. The best place in this tree, however, is that long long long branch that is parallel to the ground and thick and sturdy practically to the very tip. You can inch your way out on it into the nest of little branches and leaves and gaze out over your kingdom.
Now that I write this, I realize I cannot skip describing the Russian-olive. The best one becomes even greater after a storm breaks off the top of one main branch and creates a bridge above its twisted self. So many entrances to this castle, even a dog can trot up one branch—that leans down almost to the ground—and start climbing around more deftly than a cat. Various enclosures become dungeons and the bridge on the top becomes a parapet.
See, the trees don't become so great on their own; they need the children. What good is a spaceship without someone to ride in it? A house with secret passageways without someone to go through them?
Then again, maybe I've got it backwards: maybe children need trees. If you ever had a tree, I bet you miss it. I bet it misses you.
No, I guess we can't have too many stories like these.