When I was a child, we lived about three blocks from the public library, Jenny Trent Drew was my home away from home every Monday and Wednesday afternoon and all day on Saturday. Across the street from the library was the United Methodist Church. Directly behind the church and a block and a half from my house was an open field. A house sat on the left corner, but the remainder of the city block was vacant and overgrown. Right smack in the middle of the block (how is that for Texas talk!) about ten steps in from the street was the biggest oak tree in the world…or at least my world at the time. The branches rose hundreds of feet in the air, yet draped down to the ground on all sides. The tree trunk was so big around I could not even make my arms reach from side to side, and forget trying to get them around. This was my other world as a child. Where I went to dream, read, chill out since it was always cool even on the hottest summer days, and to hide.
I was not the easiest child to raise. A late in life “surprise” for my parents, I did have a mind of my own and used it most of the time. Like other small town rural children, I had my assigned daily chores, but once done, I had the run of the neighborhood. Because of this freedom, I had several hideaways when I could escape the house. There was only one rule…come home when my Mom whistled. That was a limited distance, usually six to eight blocks, but that woman could be heard forever. She had for years used that whistle to herd sheep as well as Girl Scouts. When she whistled, I had to respond and be home in about ten minutes or my but had a meeting with the leather strap kept in the kitchen drawer.
Back to my tree. Under it’s loving branches was a carpet of cool grass mixed with sweet smelling clover. At some point, a short railroad tie had been placed against the base to serve as a bench. Book, quilt, and water in hand, I spent many wonderful summer afternoons in my own sheltered little world. A world where I could dream, solve a mystery with Nancy Drew or even nap! To my knowledge, my Mom never knew of this hideaway. Neither did anyone else, because I was NEVER disturbed there and my secret place was shared with no one, not even my best friend.
This post is a result of this morning’s Writing Practice topic: Write about a shade tree. Below is a poem that also came from this writing.
ANCIENT~her trunk big as the sky~branches hundreds of feet in the air~yet draping to the ground making my secret hideaway~alas, you are no more
Always I wish you peace, joy and happiness, but most of all I wish you LOVE.
As Ever, Annie
First published January 27, 2013