Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Treehouses

When did we, as adults, lose sight of the magic of the tree house? As children, it held all the world to us, where nothing could harm us and our imaginations took flight. When did we reach the age when we were "too cool" to climb into a tree house and wile away the hours of a Saturday afternoon? Maybe it's just me.

Though I did not have a tree house as a child (we're using that term as a collective for all magical childhood places), I did have a sandbox. My father built it for me in the corner of our backyard where it sat beneath two large maples. The trees reached their big limbs over the sand, providing ample shade from the Tennessee sun and protection from the outside world. Their gnarled trunks gave perfect footings for climbing while the sand lay beneath, waiting to cushion my landing whenever I decided to jump. My whole world was in that corner of the backyard.

So why did I leave? Age, mostly, but then we moved to Arkansas. Those were the reasons I physically left, but why did I leave spiritually? Emotionally? Psychologically? If I was happy in that state, peacefully playing beneath the trees, why did I leave that state of bliss? A question of the ages, I am sure, and one not easily answered in a few paragraphs here.

Why do we stop building tree houses for ourselves? Places of sanguine reflection and protected comfort are rare in this chaotic world and yet we fail to see the restorative power of the simple tree house. Oh, to be there, lying among the strength of her branches, listening to the song of her leaves, suspended in her embrace, as the stalwart mother-tree wraps herself around us and welcomes us home. Pure peace.

Sure, many might say that our homes take the place of our childhood tree house, but I disagree. Others come into our house and pierce the protective barrier. Neighbors come for a visit, family drops by to borrow the punch bowl, the mailman brings bills, and the banker makes his presence known when he/she invisibly collects the monthly payment. But, only certain people -- ones who have passed our in-depth admissions test -- are granted entry to the super-secret invitation-only tree house. It doesn't have a mortgage or a mailbox.

I have spent too much time away from my childhood sandbox, but the symbolic rebuilding is going well. A room in my house (yes, the house, I know what I just said about that) is closed off to all others, except the furry children, of course, and has been off-limits to all others for several months. I'm still rebuilding. Sure would have been a lot easier if I hadn't left it in the first place. The walls are decorated with pictures that stir my soul, and artwork that inspires me. A large illuminated woven heart hangs in the corner, reminding me of the potential in small things and simple moments. Pens and notebooks lay on the desk in anticipation of merging their purposes into worthy reflection. A dog bed by the door awaits George and/or Stella to infuse the room at will with unfettered happiness. It's a good start.

2 comments:

  1. Not 30 minutes prior to reading this blog, a promo for "Treehouse Masters" came on TV showing these amazing creations...and I told Ryan that I would love to have one. Coincidence? Hmmmm. It doesn't have to be uber fancy or anything. I had many secret places when I was a child. As an adult, I have learned to carry a secret place with me...like a protective bubble from the outside world. Sometimes it's a book (or the Nook App on my phone) that I can lose myself in, sometimes it's my journal or sketchbook, and sometimes it's just a few stolen moments in my car on my lunch hour, where I can retreat into myself and let my imagination fly. One of these days, when we have our "Forever Home", I'll create my own secret place again. I can't wait!! :) Sheila

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  2. Sheeerah! The other half of my brain has arrived, and all is right with the world :-) So agree with carrying a sacred place with you. I have to learn a better way of closing out the rest of the world in those moments and not be so easily distracted by other things when I'm in that special zone. You know how I am with shiny objects.

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