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.