Saturday, May 18, 2024

A Place Of Safety

April 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Prose

For more than seventy years, I have kept secret my faith in that beautiful tree and in all that time it has never failed me.

In times of great stress,and sometimes great danger,i simply climb up into its branches, letting my mind absorb its magic, and I know I am safe in its embrace.

As a small boy, looking up into its thickly woven branches, I realised that in some way my life, and the tree would be bonded together.It was our destiny!

Standing up from the hedgerow, the round smooth trunk held up the saucer shaped base, with its closely knit, almost impenetrable branches. This in turn held the full shape of the cup, creating a perfect cup and saucer image in a living, breathing, natural tree.

How I longed to climb into its centre. I knew when that was achieved, I would be in my own private castle -my tower – my refuge – my place of sanctuary, where nothing could cause me harm. A green haven of peace.

It would be my secret, kept hidden in my mind. My World shared only with nature, perhaps a nesting Finch or Thrush. We would be safe, encompassed in green caressing leaves. Secure like a child in it’s mother’s embrace.

Despite all set backs – a period in Hospital, an arm broken on two occasions – I never lost that burning desire. One day soon I would fulfil that dream.

Even before that great day, the tree dominated my thoughts. At four years old, I sat in bed in the old Tubercular Hospital at Gobowen, out on the verandah of the open ended wards, snowflakes blowing in on the foot of my bed, I was oblivious to icy winter winds, fits of coughing, horrible medicines, huge spoonfuls of Cod Liver Oil. I just thought and dreamed of my beautiful tree, knowing that I would recover, be reunited with that secret world.

Eventually, the time came. I knew that my moment of glory was to hand. the tree would be climbed that weekend, or at least by the following Bank Holiday Monday.

I remember the intense excitement, the anticipation of what was to come. Chores were carried out quickly and cheerfully. My mother became suspicious; I heard her remark ” That little devil is up to something”.

Oh I was, and a lot higher up than she thought.

My first attempt, despite all the planning, was a complete failure.It became apparent that during the time I had waited to grow strong enough, I had also grown considerably. Alternate routes to the summit had to be explored.

Eventually, the first part was achieved. I was in the saucer. Even that brought great delight and spurred me on to greater efforts.

Squirming and wriggling my way up into the cup. I lay there ,my mind and body overcome with emotion.

Everything I had dreamed of was at last true.The sense of achievement, and above all a feeling of complete safety. I was alone, as one with this living and breathing tree, almost a part of Nature itself .Nothing could possibly ham me.

After all this time, scraped knees, scratched hands, and a torn jersey seem such a small price to have paid for such high rewards.

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