Monday, June 07, 2010

The Tree Outside My Window

I have a deciduous tree outside my office window. It's some kind of Maple, but don't ask me which one. That's Hubcap's department and he's not here to reference. :) Right now, the leaves and little reddish-pink flowers block my view of anything but the sky and the tree itself.

While I may not be a dab hand at identifying the subspecies (is that even the right word?) of a tree, I love them. Always have. Our last house backed up to a greenbelt (area that could not be developed) filled with towering Douglas Firs that danced in the wind like tall-skinny hula masters. I loved that view and will never forget the morning mists that made the small forest magical. I still miss it. Sigh...

So, if you think I'm saddened all I can see is a tree out my window, you'd be wrong. Its gorgeous and inspiring and does a lovely job of blocking off the rest of the world. Which sometimes I need. Want. Enjoy. Not absolutely sure which is the exact feeling, but think need may be the closest. :)

When I was a little girl (maybe 8), I used to sit under the big willow tree in our front yard and draw. I loved that tree and when it had to be cut down because the roots were growing into the plumbing and basement foundation, I cried. I still love willow trees more than any others, though when we went to Hawaii this past spring, I fell deeply in love with the Banyon trees. They're so old and majestic and intricate - just like a great book!
I loved trees so much, I counted the number in our yard back then and proudly proclaimed it to all who would listen. (There were 13.) We have trees now, but they're young...the house isn't old and it was built on a cleared lot. One of the trees in our back yard died this year. We don't know why, but we're looking at it as an opportunity to plant a fruit tree. Both Hubcap and I like them. :)

We had a play area between two trees that I spent a lot of time playing make believe in too, when I was young. Before my parents divorce, before we moved to a mobile home park space with no trees. The play "house" was between two huge Evergreens. One of them had something like a cave on the opposite side to where the branches had been trimmed to make the "house". It was another spot where the lower branches did not all grow together, but the ones above draped down, protecting it from sight. I hid there once in a while, from the world.

Hubcap plays tree for me somtimes. Like the other night when we went to visit my mom and she was so confused she tried to answer the phone with the remote. Her amonia levels were too high and it was scary, but nothing we haven't faced before. She's doing better now, but for a while there, I needed Hubcap to just block out the rest of the world. And like the true hero he is, he did it.

Sometimes books are my trees...when I'm so stressed by deadlines, I *can't* think of my own stories, I hide in someone else's. It works. For me. Reading is a place to go when where I am is tough, or scary, or simply boring. :)

Sometimes the hot-tub is my tree. With all the bubbles going, I can't hear anything else and I can just float and think about stuff that isn't going to make my heart bleed. It's okay, we've all got stuff like that in our lives and sometimes its more prevalent than others, but joy is so much sweeter because it rarely comes without cost.

Maybe that's why I write romance, I want to be a beautiful, blocking tree for someone else - I want to give books that will make hearts glad and remind us that no matter how harsh the pain, there is the hope of redemption. Does that sound too grandiose?

I'm not sure, but one thing I do know...I love trees.

It's your turn: what do you turn to to soften the rough edges of the world, or simply block it out entirely?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This week's blog post winner will receive a signed copy of a book of choice from my back-list. :)


krisgils33 said...

That's beautiful. Never really equated trees with blocking out the bad, but it's so true. Books are definitely an escape for me. My animals (two cats and a dog right now) are also very soothing to me. It doesn't necessarily push the bad outside my brain, but a little play time with the animals just makes me feel better.

Judy said...

I live in the Southwest and remember when I flew to Florida, a few years ago. One of my best friends picked me up at the airport, and I couldn't stop exclaiming, "Trees! You have trees! EVERYWHERE!" Before they passed, my safe havens were with my dog and my horse. Losing them wasn't just losing friends, I lost my safe places. Since then, trying to create a new safe place has seemed a hopeless cause. Books come the closest. You will never know how often I used your stories to block the negative tapes in my head; since I've read them so often, I recite them in my mind as I go to sleep. Thank you.

Valerie said...

That is beautiful and not grandiose at all. Believe me, I know grandiose when I see it, hear it, read it... ;) You reminded me of something I have not thought about in ages! When I was a little girl, around 7 or 8, we had a house that had two huge oleander trees in the backyard. Every day after school and Saturday mornings I'd go hide behind them, they had a little area like a fort and I loved it. I could hide there and dream. Sometimes I'd draw with clouds. My friend and I played pirates and Star Wars and fort in those trees. At least until summer came, then we'd spend all the time in the play pool. LOL I love trees, mountains and lakes/oceans. (Except for Lake Michigan, weird story) I also love my bed, sometimes it's my tree.

I agree, sometimes trees are books or a bubblebath. Sometimes things are just too overwhelming and hard to get through right this second. There have been times when I've climbed in my bed and pulled the covers up over my head like a kid hiding from the closet monster. I eventually have to face whatever it is, but right at that moment I'm comforted and feel better. The best is when the "boys", as I call my two dogs, join me and cuddle up(Judy - I'm so sorry for your loss. They are members of our family and I know it's tough). Just then, all is right with the world.

I'm sorry to hear your mom is having so much trouble. I'm so glad you have Hubcap, he sounds like a wonderfully strong tree for you. Hugs, Lucy! :)

Laurie Ryan said...

My husband and I have a running dialogue about trees. I want more, he wants to maintain the status quo. I love to look at them, he doesn't like to mow around them. :)
I do use nature as a backstop when I need to find my happy place again. Trres, water, any of it works. Especially snow. I am always happy watching it snow. :)
Great post, Lucy!

Valerie said...

Bookstores are also a source of comfort for me. I love walking in to a Borders or a Barnes and Noble and just taking a deep breath. The wonderful aroma of all those books and coffee is just the thing to unwide the tension in my shoulders and neck.

robynl said...

Mom was my tree before she passed away. So was our furbaby Sam before we had to put him down at age 14. Now I have my nieces/nephew's dogs to be my tree. Right now I have Megan's dog Dodger with us for a safe spot to land. I love dogs and they are so comforting and give one a reason to get up at times.

Sorry to hear about your Mom.

Jane said...

Now that the weather's nice I go to walking on the path by the river.

Judy F said...

That is lovely Lucy. I used to sit under a tree in my parents front yard. Its a sad little stump now but the memories are still there.

My dad before he got sick was my tree I could talk to him about anything. I missed that when his Alzheimer's progressed. Now I just plain miss him.

I am happy hubcap is there for you.

Amy said...

Reading has alway's been my escape from the real world ever since I was a little girl. Back then it was little House on the Prarie books and Nancy Drew. I started reading Harlequin's when I was 12 and have been hooked ever since

Leigh D'Ansey said...

I love trees too, and where we live we're surrounded by them. New Zealand natives and a stand of redwoods at the back. I love the sound of the wind through these trees. Stormy nights are a delight - even though there's the scary thought of a branch landing on the roof! We also have a stream and ponds nearby and a lot of birdlife. My escape would be just listening to the sounds of nature and thinking my own thoughts. Being with my grandchildren is a wonderful pick-me-up - they're so funny and children see the world so differently than we do.

erahime said...

Trees are nice to look at. As for the question, that's easy.


Books helps me cope with everything, even though sometimes they are a pain in the bottom when a story that I had perused and didn't like stick with me and I can't get it out of my mind/memory. But books have its good moments also.

Jan said...

Trees are wonderful.
They actually are a huge part of my favorite place to hide from the rest of the world--Camp. I go back to the camp where I worked when I was younger. I recharge and I'm ready to face the new school year.
My other way to hide from the world is books and has been ever since I was a kid.