Where the trees stood March 18 2018

Many of the richest scenes for my life involve trees – the splendour of apple blossoms in spring at our camp; hiding in the giant cedar trees during hide-and-seek while climbing much higher than was likely safe; fall excursions with my niece to wander among the fall colours; a picnic with fancy china and linen under trees on the Scarborough bluffs; sitting among poplar trees listening to the music created in the wind by their clacking leaves; walks in the woods in New Hampshire and Vermont. Many such moments are a pleasure to recall.

But I have one very special tree memory.

When I was quite young, my father hung a homemade swing in a very tall tree at our camp. A piece of wood made a seat, attached to heavy rope that stretched up to meet the limb of the tree at the edge of the sky.

As any kid would, we pumped our legs over and over, as hard as we could, until the rope was almost horizontal. Then we jumped when it was at its peak, and flew shrieking through the air, free as a bird thumping on the ground and springing up to go again.

One Sunday, I was wearing a pretty dress that my mother had made, new patent leather shoes and white socks. What came next has imprinted that picture in my mind.

I launched off the swing from the heights and flew through the air, laughing with delight. I landed on a board with a rusty nail pointing straight up, and my foot landed squarely on that nail.

My father raced from the garden at supersonic speed in answer to my wail. I will never forget the look of pain and horror on his face as he braced his feet on either end of the board and lifted me straight up off the nail. 

I never questioned if I was going to be OK. I knew I would be because my father had arrived to save me. 

That might have been a traumatic experience for me, a bad memory. Instead, it was one of the most sweetly intimate moments I had with my father. Once he charged through the bushes, I wasn’t afraid. I trusted him and believed he could fix anything. 

He saved me where the trees stood. But there was no saving my new shoes or my now-crimson socks.

You can see my “Tree of Life” window glass here.

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