Six. I’ve lived in a total of six houses in my lifetime, excluding one dorm room, a few apartments, and a house that arguably should have been condemned based on loose fire codes, yellow tape and a chalk outline of a body. My Dad was none too pleased about that post-freshman year summer home.
Of these abodes, hands down my favorite was 400 Adelaide Street. It was the corner home in which I grew up complete with every tomboy’s dream basketball court in the back yard, and I adored it. Even though I loved each and every room on the inside, I spent a great deal of time outdoors. Beautiful trees adorned the lot; they were my true (and slightly safer) first summer home.
Just off center in our front yard was a giant oak. It’s the first tree I can ever remember climbing. I would sit there, wave to my parents and smile a toothless grin for the camera. That tree was like a stage.
Out back, next to my court, was an even better oak. My Dad hung a rope swing from it at one point, making it perfectly appealing and homey. After completing scheduled shooting drills, I would take a breather on that swing. Just sitting and swinging, all the while looking up and planning my journey straight to the top. Purposeful, yet peaceful. I guess some things never change.
That great oak was more of a nest. A nesting tree it was. Though thankfully, I cannot remember any birds being in my way as I climbed to the top. I do not get along well with those thorny little creatures.
My friend out back was one big daydream, helping me visualize scaling its divergent branches as I wondered which one would ultimately hold on to me the longest and with the most ease. It provided a sweet stillness, underneath and in it, bravely being sturdy when I was not.
Most magically, it somehow stopped time. And in so doing, allowed me to use those stolen, essential, and sobering moments to contemplate life’s next charted courses. The ones I knew I needed to take in order to get to where I didn’t know I was going.
That resplendent oak provided safety and respite when I had no idea what my future held. It was ever-present. A good, old-fashioned provision of consummate solace. With deep-seated roots.
Post-Semantics-Script: Not deep-seeded…‘Cause everybody knows seeds that are sown too deeply won’t grow, blossom, or ever see the expectant sunshine on the other side.