As I’ve said, I loved, or to be more precise, love, trees. I like to be alone with my thoughts, and trees provide that separation, that sanctuary from the rest of the world.
I rarely spoke as I got older and think that came from learning very early on, it was easy to incriminate myself, even if I’d done nothing wrong. Silence was my defense before there was a crime.
My favourite trees are fruit, but not on the apple Isle (Tasmania), there’s no fruit trees out where I live, so it’s a plus that really any tree will do.
During my early teens I sat in an old Loquat tree for hours on my own. It was quite a way from the house and out of sight, and no-one ever knew where I was. I’d lay back along a thick trunk, watch the clouds move through the sky, and examine the dappled sunlight as it broke through the leaves.
One day I was in my tree, and it must’ve been getting late. I heard someone calling my name. I sighed and knew if I didn’t get back to the house my serenity would be smashed by reality. As I readied myself for the climb down, I picked one last Loquat, put one bare foot on a lower branch and looked down.
Pulling my foot back up, I sat back on my branch and watched a long Brown snake slither by. It was so graceful in the long thick grasses, gliding here and there, and it was hardly my fault I had to stay in my tree a little longer.
As I watched the last of it tail disappear, my father’s wife screeched my name and I knew what was coming. I climbed out of the tree and ran through the lupines my siblings and I played hide and seek in most afternoons. We had was no fear of snakes. There, with the lupines as a boundary, stood my father’s wife on the fresh cut lawn.
‘Where have you been,” she’d hissed, grabbed the back of my hair and pushed me head first into the house. ‘Shut up and get dinner on.’
My elder sibling and I had the job of getting the dinner on. It was supposed to be on work days, but my father’s wife didn’t recall the agreement. I did. After dinner was cooked, we served it, then were given the privilege of cleaning the kitchen, washing the dishes, scrubbing the stove.
Every chance I got, I went up a tree. Life is also so much simpler, more beautiful, when looked at from between the leaves.