It was tall and skinny, able to sway slightly in the breeze like a mother gently rocking her baby. Its lowest branch was so high that I was the only one who could climb it as the oldest child of my group. I was home schooled you see, and I was the oldest, tallest, there. I would impress the other kids by jumping up and grabbing the arm sized branch and hoist myself up into it’s fantastic shade. It had to have been an oak, not much else thrives in that area of Texas. The bark was rough and I’d always scrap my hands on the way up, but I didn’t care. For a few minutes, I was the coolest kid in town.
My worst memory of that tree was when I was fourteen. A few school buses of kindergarten aged public school kids had come out that day and I wanted to escape
show off. I was on my way up with a beautiful little blonde girl came up to the base of the tree and asked if I was a boy. I was hurt, but I knew I didn’t look much like a girl; short hair, baggy shirts, climbing trees… it wasn’t what girls did or looked like. The damage was done though, and I never visited that tree again. I do miss it though, the raw power I felt, chin pressing my way onto the first branch, balancing while I read a book or just laid out on the rest of the V shaped branches higher up. The smell of the dust and bark and broken leaves fragrant to me.
I’m sure it’s still there in the park next to the play ground. No one would need to move it, even if the playground changed. It was a very unassuming, skinny tree that didn’t look like it was inviting to climb. So I’m sure it’s still there. I’m positive. I hope that I can show it to my children one day and show them all the best ways to climb up it (there was only one way).