It’s early afternoon. The sky is mostly clear with just a few wispy clouds making their way across it. The sun has begun its downward journey toward the horizon again, though you would hardly notice.
Just a few short hours earlier the little girl had escaped from the kitchen table and broccoli she loathed. She had been traveling back and forth within the tree line which ran around the property. Her brother had made some trails, a large one for the things he rode (a four wheeler, dune buggy, and snowmobile) and some smaller ones for waking.
She was a runaway princess, or an adventurer racing to beat her opponent to the prize, or best friends figuring out the villains plot. She had traversed only one side of the property up till now. When she reached the point where she usually turned around she decided to keep going this time.
The woods ahead of her always struck her as less exciting, for no particular reason that she could tell. As she walked along her mind filled in exciting details where there were none visible.
The gap. She would have to cross the gap! There were no trees for a space leading from a large grassy meadow to a field of sprouting crops (in later years she figured it must have been an access for tractors). It would be a dangerous crossing. She would have to run, jump, duck, roll, and dive to arrive in the safely of the other side. Yes! The black knights would not find her yet, she was ahead in the race, or a new clue had been discovered.
She meandered to the end of the woods. The trails weren’t kept up as well but she made it. She looked over the field of sprouts, pondering only for a moment what crop they might be, before turning back. This section of woods was like a peninsula, surrounded almost completely by the field.
She returned and crossed the gap again, but was forced to detour away from the trail (opponents you know) and found a particular tree overlooking the field. It had three horizontal branches lower to the ground. Her current story forgotten, she climbed into it. The branches weren’t big, but they held her comfortably, one for her feet, one for her seat, and the last to hold on to.
She sat, still and silent for a few moments. A breezy gust of wind rushed past her, moving the branches all around as well as those she sat on. “That was fun” she thought. Patently she waited for another gust. It came and she was pleased. A new story slipped into her mind. A dangerous climb, men searching for her, she must not be found in her wiggly haven.
Some time later the gusts began to slow, even though her story was increasing in drama, and she began to bounce and wiggle the branches herself. Later again she began to tire, the evening cooling ever so sneakily with the soon setting sun. A brave rescue, the villains defeated, she now must make the long journey home. She removes herself from the tree, marking its place for another day of play, and begins the long walk back to the house, by the circuitous route of trails of course.
AnnaMae Tollefson (Copyright, 2014)
I still remember that day and that tree. I can still point out where it was, or still is, in our back woods. I went back several different days but I never found as perfect circumstances with the direction and speed of wind to bounce the branches like that first day. I remember my seat getting sore and having to shift my position multiple times to stay out as long as