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.