Lost Tree, Found Girl

I had a funny morning the other day, and I don’t know why, but I picked a few weeds, and began thinking about my garden growing up, and the amazing tree in my backyard. I would escape into that tree and read for hours on end. I could hide from the world, my chores, and just lose myself in a book. As I showered, a few of my thoughts strung together and I realized it was a poem. So, here it is.

Lost Tree, Found Girl

I used to climb a tree
When I was little
and I wanted to be free
But all I did
When I climbed that tree
was open a book
and read.

As I grew,
the tree grew with me
and in the pages of my book
I knew
When I was in that tree
I could be free
hidden in those leaves,
lost inside my fantasy,
I could stop

In those leaves
I was so many things –
A pirate, a princess,
a faerie with pretty wings,
a sorcerer, a swordsman
an angel with fury
in her being,
but most importantly,
I was
and could not be,

I came home
from school one day
and the tree was gone
an empty space
so lonely
stared right back at me
I wept
I despaired
I could no longer be free
I had to be
(I didn’t want to be!)

I grew up that day
and I saw the world,
all the ugly things
in the ugly world –
the hate
the hurt
the open wound
the mother’s tears
the hidden bruises
the dirt
the broken house
the broken girl –
and I hated it,
I didn’t want it,
I didn’t want
to be

I wanted to be –
the princess
with all her things,
the vengeful angel
with angry eyes
and flaming wings,
the swordsman
on a magic steed
always, always fighting
anyone, anyone,
anyone but

But as my eyes adjusted
I started to see,
it wasn’t so awful,
this being me,
there were kind words
to ease the hurt
A little word
could tease a smile
A simple gesture
could lighten the burden
Make the world
A little less ugly
A little less hateful,
and it became
a little less awful
this being

feet on the earth,
I saw the leaves
of other trees,
of other me’s
of all the could-haves
but never really
would-have-been me’s
and I was,

11 thoughts on “Lost Tree, Found Girl

  1. i loved that tree too. i missed it so much when it was gone. I remember the day I came home and it was gone. i also missed the flowering bushes that were on either side of the porch that were gone one day when i came home from school. i cant remember why she said she got rid of them

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Mom later told me that the city had offered to cut it down for her for free, or she could pay for the repairs the branches were about to start doing to the telephone wires. So, she really didn’t have much of a choice or time to prepare us. The flowering bushes – she hated them because they reminded her of carnations, and she hated carnations with a passion because she said they were “cheap and fake.” The flowers on the bushes, though, they only lasted one-two days, and then they molded so the whole front of the house smelled like sweet mildew, which she didn’t like (she didn’t really know about it until Grampa G complained about it, since her sense of smell was horrible). Both decisions made sense in retrospect, it just made our house seem more…dismal? And, not like our childhood home.


  2. Absolutely beautiful. I didn’t escape to a tree, but I’m no stranger to these feelings. Reading this, I can even remember what it felt like being a kid, and that’s almost impossible these days. It put me in a mixed feel-y place, but that’s good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you, that means the world to me. It does almost feel impossible to be a kid these days, although I think sometimes I get to catch glimpses and feel the echos while watching my own kids discover the world around them. Thank you again!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wowza! I had no idea there were two of those trees, or two of those me’s. This is such lovely prose, the tale of the bittersweet acceptance of losing your tree and growing on without it. Thanks for such sweet beauty today.

    Liked by 1 person

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