For Your Reading Enjoyment

15 03 2009

Shelly is a woman with a lot of things to do. She had a loving husband, three beautiful children and a badly-trained dog. (Or was it a beautiful husband, three badly-trained children and a loving dog? Some days she could not quite keep track.) On any given day her husband could be trusted to be as helpful as he could. Unfortunatly he had an important job in the city and worked long hours. Neither of them liked the situation but the badly-trained children and loving dog ate a lot and food costs money.

So Shelly buried herself (or was buried) under a mound of laundry, a multitude of dirty dishes and many small demands upon her time.

But she had not always been a busy wife and mother. Once, many season’s worth of days ago, she had been a little girl. A little girl who loved trees.

Shelly’s grandparents were ranchers. Real Montana ranchers with thousands of cattle, several deliciously dusty barns and a well that she was never allowed to touch. But best of all, her grandfather owned an entire forest

Really it was only a plot of land too densely wooded and too near the river to be worth plowing under. But to a young girl with dirty fingernails and a vivid imagination, that plot of land was Robin Hoods’ forest. It was Lothlorien and the Never Never Land island and the wood that grew up where Cair Paravel had stood. The sandy riverbank was the home of the Psamiad and a refuge for the Waterbabies. She loved best the tall pine tree that sheltered her play house and even better the little pool where she could watch the tiny waterbugs skate.

She spent every summer with her grandparents while her mother and father took suburban vacations full of Bloody Marys and too-tan strangers.  They were kind people who loved their daughter, but they knew nothing of a child’s imagination and even less about the heart of their little girl. A little girl who felt awkward and stifled when at home amongst her dolls and dresses but ran free and happy under burning August skies.

As years passed and the dirt faded from beneath Shellys fingernails; as books replaced playhouses and play clothes were traded for sun dresses, very little of the free little girl remained. The last shred and the only part of the girl that never died was her love of trees.

At least, that is how she might have phrased it, if you could have caught her between loads of laundry. What she really means, though, is that she loves sunny freedom filtered through leaves and branches. The heat of sun-baked grass soaking through her skirt brings a peace over her soul that nothing can tear away. Even now, as a “grown-up” she lays on grass under an oak tree in her front yard, gathering little tastes of the joy that she remembers from her childhood.

No, Shelly’s life is not unhappy. It is the life of many a woman who knows nothing of the broad world but the all-encompassing love of her family. It is what she wants. But even in her happiness, the smell of warm forest calls to her.

So sometimes she goes back to her Grandfather’s ranch, now run by her Uncle. She leaves her husband and children playing in the new in-ground pool and runs away for happy afternoons in the forest. Sometimes she watches the waterbugs skate and sometimes she looks for Robin Hood or even one of his Merry Men.

But mostly, she just feels free.

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4 responses

16 03 2009
Jennifer

The thing I like most about your stories is the sense-memories they evoke in a way they only do when reading something written by you, who shared my childhood.

ack now I’m gonna cry, and my mascara isn’t waterproof.

16 03 2009
Meghan

Oh Dearest! Don’t cry!

I’m glad it could make you cry but would be very sad if it actually did. Loves to your beautiful face!

16 03 2009
granny the great

Made me think of Carina. Tree child— “I’m Waiting For Summer”

16 03 2009
Meghan

Granny, that’s kinda funny because I wrote it after going to a play with Carina Beana. . .

Perhaps I am more intuitive than even I thought.

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