Monday, February 18, 2013

A different perspective

When we were kids, my sister picked up some acorns while visiting the Lake of the Ozarks with friends. When she returned, with great care and love, she planted the acorns in our back yard. She tenderly nurtured the trees, even putting tiny fences around them when they were no more than twigs with a single leaf. She posted a sign on the tiny fence, "Please do not cut down the oak tree," so the neighbor who mowed our lawn would steer a course around the vulnerable, brand new oak shoot.

Fast forward fifty years to my visit to Kansas City last December. I hadn't seen the old house for a long time, maybe 20 years or more, I can't remember. I had a spare hour or so one day, hence I decided to check it out. It was a very foggy day in Kansas City, creating a cinematic atmosphere as I approached. In fact, the fog thickened and started blowing around in wisps as I turned onto the street where we once lived. That weekend in Kansas City was epic, I tell you. Epic.

Of course I noticed how small the house looked, how tiny the side yard where we used to play every kind of game during the summers. My old bedroom window, the one I used to crawl through to escape into the night (during high school with my best friend and our boyfriends) seemed hardly big enough even for a young person to climb through. Everything about the place seemed too small.

Except for the oak tree my sister planted, the one that took root and flourished over the years. The tree is monumental. I had to get out of the car to see the top, it has grown so tall. The trunk is enormous. The house looks even smaller beneath the tree's lofty branches.

This morning I was thinking that at age 60, I'm more interested in the tree than the house. Earlier in life when I drove past the old house what I noticed was how I had outgrown it. Last December what I noticed was the tree: well established, mature, with a beautiful presence. The smallness of the house is no longer interesting. But the tree. That tree is awe inspiring.

Long ago I grew out of that house, you'd better believe it. Years went by. Then decades. Only now am I becoming, like the tree, old enough to be monumental, to have presence. It's a beautiful tree, hale and hearty. May I stand so tall in my 60s! May it be so.

As I drove away the fog lifted. You can not make up this stuff.


See the moon above the chateau and to the left?


Deborah said...

Thank you Reya. My trips to the old neighborhood are all about that tree. I forget when I figured out that the tree would out live me and how happy I am that it is there. May we all be like great old oak trees. Shalom! Much love.

ellen abbott said...

No picture? surely you took a picture of the tree.

ellen abbott said...

and yes you are monumental with a definite presence.

Reya Mellicker said...

I did not take a picture. I just stood there with my mouth open, staring. I guess I should have, huh?

Margaret Gosden said...

I am wondering what you will say when you get to be 80 which, for me, feels like what you are are saying about getting to be 60! But that is 20 years from you feel like you are on the edge of a precipice, or do you still feel like you did when you were 40?

Pam said...

The energies of a place change so much. I outgrew the family home too,and was glad when my parents sold it 4 years ago. Felt no emotional attachment to it at all - but what always held my heart was the two almond trees in the backyard of my childhood. My brother and I played, dreamed, laughed and cried in those branches. To this day I love the comforting feeling almond blossom evokes, with its promise of brighter, sunnier days. At 60 years old, and no longer ours,(if a tree ever is) they have not fared as well as your oak tree unfortunately. What a wonderful story you've told of small botanical beginnings and flourishing success!

Memory Echoes said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Reya!

Such a beautiful post.

Practice your Entish.

Steve Reed said...

How great that the tree still survives!

Tom said...

that's great. I'd love to go back to my childhood home and climb the oak tree - like i used to.