Childhood Tree

Childhood Tree
Howard Gaukrodger, 17.03.14

Practice: Five-minute speed test. Write about a tree.

My escape lay at the bottom of the garden. A concrete path, narrow as the wheels of my trike, led through the vegetable patch to this Eden. Here, I would pedal whenever I was sad, or lonely.

In spring, the gnarly apple tree beckoned with blossom of white and pink. They were daylight stars fluttering in the sun. I would stare and stare and stare some more, until the tree had sucked out all unwanted emotion.

The years went by, and like the tree, I grew. Old enough now to climb, I would shin up the trunk and perch on its silvery limbs. There’s my house. Dad’s in his workshop. I could see everything from here. I was on top of the world. At the right time of year, when the blossoms had turned to fruit, I would pick an apple, or two, and savour the still-bitter taste.

Into adolescence and my tree had shrunk. Why would I want to climb that little thing? But I still sat against its trunk. I was grateful for its protection from the sun. And I always loved its whispering leaves. I think of this tree even now when I’m stressed, and even now I find peace in its memory.