Sunday, January 3, 2010

A new sky




I've always had a preoccupation with trees. I'm not a "nature girl" whatever that means. I'm urban. But I do like to garden, and I LOVE trees. I climbed them as a child. The higher the better. Straining for footholds, and straddling shards of bark I was safe inside their arm branches. Invisible behind leaves. Majestic up on top. The memory of climbing makes me heady still.

When he died my mom and I had to spend the winter with her, my gram, because she was all alone. It was easier for me. She lived in the suburbs and winter or not, that meant serious tree climbing.

Sure, the willow wouldn't be it's ordinary fortress with the leaves gone, but it was still a nice climb. Lower than the oak out front, but higher than the Japanese maple in the side yard.

"Are you coming inside babe? It's cold." One of them asked from the driveway.

It was cold. So cold my body was wrapped in layers of tights and jeans and scarves and gloves and a woolen hat that made my brow sweat and itch. I had boots on too because there was a scattered bit of snow. He would have said the snow was good for the lawn. But he was dead and I couldn't ask him how on earth can that be good? And those women? They wouldn't answer me. They just wanted to get inside. I didn't ever want to go back inside. Never again, anywhere. I would live in the trees.

"NO. I'm playing."I yelled without looking at them.
"You're not playing, you're lying on the ground."

And it was true. I was lying on the ground, staring at the sky, deciding what tree to try and conquer all dressed up like an astronaut. They shook their lady heads and went inside where they belonged.

I looked at the clouds. Different now. The sky changed when he died. It became sharper, less translucent, more surreal. Before, the clouds seemed like plausible pillows. After... just shifting bits of gas. Fun for making shapes, not so fun for sleeping on.

I concentrated on the winter sky. He would have said don't climb the trees in winter, you could break fragile limbs.

I stayed put. The dead grass grew up around me and my back warmed the earth like spring. The winter sun found me and blinded me burning out my eyes and then I was inside the ground and growing up from a deep wet something.

When they come find me I'll be gone.

20 comments:

  1. You are a nature girl. You don't have to wear flower wreaths and flowing skirts .. you just have to love and notice the world around you. You clearly do that.

    And, I like your new pic. Very pensive. Happy 2010, friend. Good things on the horizon.

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  2. That kind of took a turn halfway through, didn't it? That second-to-last paragraph turned it all on its head--the lack of punctuation twisted things.

    I'm not sure I understand it, but it certainly is evocative. An intriguing reversal, good lady.

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  3. Tess: I don't like bugs, or horses, or skiing. Oh well.

    Simon: I became a tree! Duh. ;)

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  4. But if you were a tree, you'd still be there when they came for you. Just, y'know, as a tree. Not a girl. And stuff...

    :)

    It's still beautifully written.

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  5. Simon: YOU are beautifully written. Always.

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  6. Beautiful, Suzy! Climbing trees is the best. There's something wonderful about being cradled in one--except for the ones that house spiders. *shudders*

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  7. Becoming trees makes perfect sense to me. been there. ;)

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  8. Beautiful. I can feel you spreading out your roots and digging deep. What a beautiful tree you are.

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  9. Awesome!! Trees must have the best views.

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  10. Whenever I read these posts I feel like I get a glimpse into your childhood. I feel like I was there. Love.

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  11. I think it is important to recognize those who pause long enough to really look at trees. I think that says a lot about the individual and is certainly scarce in our hurried society.

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  12. Good stuff. Reminds me of my sister A LOT.

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  13. Beautiful experience to fell one with such a misterious being like a tree.
    Beautifully written. Thank you.

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  14. Nicely done. You'd make a beautiful tree.

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  15. I so relate. I'm not a nature girl either (grew up in NYC), never climbed a tree. But I love them. Love to hug them. Feel their energy. I love your writing, Suzanne. It makes my heart melt.
    Karen

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  16. That felt really good as i read it. it took me back to childhood somewhat-climbing trees and cloud watching.

    Secretia

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  17. Speaking of trees, are you familiar with the Robert Frost poem “Birches”? With its formal perfection and its sometimes dry wit, it's one of the best examples of everything that was good and strong in Frost’s poetry.

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  18. I found you via your diary entry on Nathan's blog. Great entry! Lovely blog post today...I'll be back.

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  19. Welcome Sharon! I had a typo or two so I am out of the running.. but it sure was fun!

    Suzy

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