We all have a favorite place where we played as a child. Mine was in and around a huge tree near our house on the farm. I filled the old tree with lumber left over from projects or what was discarded for their flaws. These boards were nailed to limbs hidden deep within its canopy. The intertwined construction from my hands and my thoughts allowed me to navigate freely throughout the branches. I saw the world from this tree and although much of what I saw may have been my imagination, it seemed so very real.
The tree was so vast with leaves it would shade the summer sun and the roots were deeply entangled in the ground to support its size and never ending thirst. This is where I conquered empires and fought my foes. Where I garnered scars and broken bones. Where I would dream and sometimes cry. All under this tree where the grass never grows.
Later on in my teenage years when returning home late at night, the headlights of my car would shine light on the tree and for a few seconds the old tree would find new life in hopes the little boy would once again shake its limbs with his spirit. The young man could see the shadows of his youth hidden far within the tree and he knew the little boy would never return. Now the tree is gone forever and the grass beneath where it once stood is thick and lush. Concealed below this cover of green turf are a child’s treasures destined to be lost, yet my mind will always return to the place where the grass never grows.
Rick Friday is a farmer (from Union County, Iowa), cartoonist, and writer published worldwide with a weekly and monthly print circulation of 193,000. He’s also a Union County Supervisor.
We Facebook followers regularly enjoy his pithy cartoons and poignant stories.
This is a fascinating recollection. Many of us have memories of special places – may this encourage your readers to explore / revisit them!
For some reason I’m drawn to stories around trees. Rick posted this on his Facebook page this morning and said yes when I asked if I could share it.
Trees fascinate me too – I am glad you shared this one.
Loved this! I used to play under a weeping willow tree. It was like my own little playhouse. And no one could really see us in there with those branches hanging almost to the ground. A tree is a wonderful thing! 🙂
A delightful memory!
Thank you for sharing Rick’s poignant reflection. I really enjoyed. Every place I’ve ever lived, from childhood until now, I’ve had my favorite tree, sometimes more than one!