Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Boy Tree

The tree stands modestly in our front yard.  It's not very tall.  Not terribly wide.  It doesn't produce flowers in the spring or lose leaves in the winter.  It always appears exactly the way I see it right now as I peer at it through my front windows.

But it is a marvelous and magical tree, this modest-ish, short-ish, thinnish green thing.

Surrounded by a low hedge of azaleas and draped like an umbrella by it's own bowing branches, this tree is a fortress of solitude for a boy who needs some space to breathe.

It's a proving ground of courage for a boy who needs to face some fears, to climb higher up or jump farther down from it's curving, gnarled branches.

This tree is a resting place for stuck things; various rubber balls and soccer balls and lacrosse sticks and frisbees are all held tightly by hungry, thick coverings of leaves. All waiting for a boy who needs the victory of being the rescuer of stuck things for a change.

Sometimes the boy just needs for life to not be quite so serious.  Where the only thing that's hard is the grip he has on that low-dipping branch.  Where that firm grip serves to shake the branches so hard that the laughter comes showering down along with the toys.

And there's levity.  Literally there is levity when that low-dipping branch yanks that child's small body up hard and he just dangles 2 feet off the ground feeling weightless for much longer than you'd ever imagine he could manage.

The callouses on his hands and the scrapes on his shins might worry a mama if she didn't know better.

If she hadn't learned that sometimes the twisted ankles, the blisters, callouses, scrapes and bruises really aren't signs of injury in an eight year old boy.

The "boy tree" will tell you that they're much more likely marks of healing.

The Boy Tree