When I was about five years old we moved to a great house with a gnarled, climbable and deceptively welcoming cherry tree in our back yard.
If you stood under the tree or looked out at it from one of our windows facing the backyard it was beautiful and when the wind blew and it would scatter pink blossoms gently to the ground.
But if you got up into that tree, it was a different story.
The nice sturdy limbs were slippery. Some of the branches would snap if you as much as looked at them and at any given time there was always a bee hive just waiting to drop on your head.
But did that stop me from trying to climb as up into the tree as I could?
Of course not- and I was always willing to risk it for one thing.
The Cherries of course.
The sweetest, plumpest, the darkest, richest cherries were always up on the very top branches.
So I would climb that tree when the cherries would ripen, I’d get as high up as I could go and then I would settle on a branch and spend all day eating cherries.
I’d spit the pits out, or sometimes I would throw them at the ever present bee hive and sometimes I’d even pick some cherries for my Mom- though I never put the best ones into the basket.
I have since spent lazy warm afternoons on beaches in Hawaii and California, in the mountains and next to rivers all over the Pacific Northwest and Colorado with nothing to bother me but my inability to WANT to roll over and shift the sun off of my face for a second or two- and nothing felt as good as those days I spent in that tree.
My tree and I did have a rough patch in our relationship.
One day I was stretched out on a branch and I’m not sure how it happened but I fell out of my cherry tree.
I smacked and busted branches all the way to the ground- which I hit with a mouthful of cherries and some still clutched in my hand.
The cherries in my hand were mashed- the ones in my mouth ended up dripping out of my nose and I was pretty sure I had swallowed a bug too.
I remember running my tongue over my teeth and tasting the cherry juice and the slightly salty taste of the blood in my mouth. I remember looking up into the tree and seeing clusters of dark, juicy red cherries just above my perch- the one that had viciously evicted me just minutes before.
I stood up, wiped the mashed cherries from my hands onto the front of my dress…
and I started to climb.
Daily Post: Juicy