Friday, February 11, 2011

Countdown to 30: Day One

The backyard of my childhood home had a mature elm tree at its center. The branches of the tree arched over nearly the entirety of the back lawn. You could see its tallest branches peeking out when standing in the front yard. It was a beautiful tree.

I loved this tree. I climbed it. I danced beneath it. In autumn I'd frustrate my father as he worked in the yard, leaping into his neatly raked piles of the tree's leaves. I used to lay on a blanket under its limbs and read my college textbooks when spring had arrived and I missed the sunlight. I sometimes cursed it in the summer when it interfered with my sun worship (before I admitted that sunburning and freckles were my skin's natural pattern in the sun). My dad has told me my whole life that I used to stare up at its leaves when I was a baby, calm and content.

My father and his siblings sold the family home sometime after my grandfather's death (it was technically grandpa's home--not ours). At the time I was finishing my final semesters of college. While I looked forward to a new bedroom and the swimming pool at my parents' new condo complex, I hated leaving the squeaking floors, the smells, the neighborhood, the familiarity of that house. Losing one's notion of home and childhood and nostalgia is difficult to say the least. But, as we settled into the new place, what I longed for very most was that tree.

I guess you could say I'm still googly-eyed about deciduous trees. The seasons revolve and the trees spin with them, a kaleidoscopic show. Each season is painted with their colors and serenaded by the wind in their shifting branches. There is little else in this world quite as lovely as the sound of wind through an aspen--except, perhaps, the sequined shimmer of its leaves in that same wind.

Yes, it is true: my first post in celebration of my 30 years and I'm writing about trees. But maybe this reveals something about me, about my personality. About some constant in these 30 years here. Maybe it is because I love the story my father always tells me--my infant-self's fascination with the elm in the backyard. Maybe it is because it is February and the branches of trees all around me have been naked for far too long. Maybe I'm more granola than I'd like to admit.

Who cares? I'm turning 30. And I love trees. They've added to my life's delight. The end.


Stephanie said...

This is so lovely.

Alice said...

This is a lovely post my friend. That was a lovely tree. Maybe we should sneak back there one day and take a look?