...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

'in the days when we were swinging from the trees'

i live in an area that has, for the past several years, been noted nationally as the fastest growing part of my state. i grew up here. the town consisted of about three streets and the houses were all at least 20 years old. they were set in yards that each had at least two mature trees reaching skyward.

i love this town. well, i at least have a very deep affinity for it. despite the fact there is now a new elementary school being built every two years, the traffic now requires expanded lanes and signal lights, and the long held argument that "why, this town could never support a grocery store!" has been tempered by the fact that there are now four within a two minute radius of each other.

what i miss, though, in this rapid growth environment, are the trees. the trees that grow in my mom's front yard, just two minutes from my house, are still there. no one knows this until now, but every time i see them, i see me at the age of 14, sitting under the shade of the far right tree and writing. or wishing for things i knew weren't going to come true.

i didn't realize i had such a fondness for trees until settling in this area. new housing developments, strip malls and schools grow here faster than trees ever will. many beautiful, mature trees are taken out each spring when the building season kicks in again. they're taken out to build developments that are then named after trees.

oakmoore. flowing pines. maple grove.

new residents then move in and park their hummers and escalades along streets named maple drive and elm street.

ok. i don't love trees in a matthew mcconaughey "let's get naked and beat on bongos" kind of way. and i'm pretty sure his reasons for doing such things go far beyond digging trees. but i do find myself drawn to their shape and colors and i have a respectable amazement for how long they live.

years ago, in the midst of a depression battle so great i could recognize nothing but my own darkness, i met with a psychologist who told me i'd crawl out of this anger and confusion if i simply took time to find a tree. find a tree that i connected with and spend time with it, she said. "go ahead and hug it if you want," she suggested. "what would be the harm?"

i remember sitting across the room from her at the time, looking at her blankly and thinking how absurd she sounded. inside my head, i was screaming "you've got to be kidding me! where are your credentials? i'll never come back here again!"

every time i see a tree that strikes me as gorgeous now, though, i remember her words. it may be silly, but there is a part of me that does, in fact, calm down a little bit then, and i remember how utterly amazing the view can be. it's like a renewal.

it's been raining here for the past three days straight, which i suppose is great if you're me and not a farmer. things that have been dormant for winter are truly starting to emerge. on monday afternoon, as i stood at my kitchen sink doing some mundane task and taking in the first of the week's afternoon silences, i looked out the window and noticed that our trees, tiny when we moved here nearly seven years ago and now growing as fast as my children, were finally starting to bud. i love that tiny window of time when you notice this and then a few days later the trees seem lush and full. so i stopped what i was doing and went out to capture the image on the right. call it silly, but i love everything about that capture, from the color of the sky to the emerging green of the leaves.

it was in a moment of tuned out ignorance as i drove home from town one late afternoon that i noticed the scene captured in the top photo as i drove down the road. i didn't get out and hug the tree, of course, but i stopped the car, remembered i had a camera with me, and then sat there a bit after capturing the photo. i love the colors of that shot, as well, but what makes it even more interesting to me is the tangle of branches bent around the other. i can't explain why that strikes me other than to say that sometimes i feel like that tangle. lots of places to go and things to accomplish, but no real sense of direction. i'm sure people driving past me, who saw me standing out my by mini and just looking toward the tree and the setting sun, thought it strange. at least one or two did, at least, since i'm pretty sure the world doesn't revolve around me (and what's up with that, anyway?!) but i was taking time to wish for things that i know won't come true. but i was also remembering to say thanks for them, even though.



Blogger FTN said...

Two important questions, then, that must be answered forthwith.

What kinds of things were you wishing for that didn't come true?

And of course, if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?

Thursday, April 26, 2007 9:33:00 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

Beautiful, DKG; thanks.

I grew up 'Way Up North', and one of the great comforts of my formative years was that I could be walking in the woods within an easy bike ride of my house (the other one was that I could be walking on the beach on Lake Huron within the same easy bike ride). Trees and waves - wonderful therapy.

In my life, I've taken four or five photos that I'm really proud of. One of them, I took one morning years ago when we were vacationing in Canada. I got up early and was sitting at the picnic table outside our cabin; the sun was just rising, painting the clouds pink/purple and the breeze was blowing briskly onshore. There was a pine tree right next to the table, and I shot a photo of the sunrise, through the pine needles, with the whitecaps breaking in the background. To this day, that photo invokes peaceful calm in my soul. . .

Thursday, April 26, 2007 9:50:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

ftn - at 14, i wished for a really cute boyfriend and big boobs.

but wait! one of those wishes did come true!

now, i wish for so much i can't even keep track.

and if i were a tree, i'd like to be a bonsai because seriously, you can't just say "bonsai" in a normal voice. you have to totally perform it, ninja style. of course, ninjas don't, by habit, say much. but i want you to say it loudly, with a fake accent. and perhaps swing a samurai sword.

but wait! bonsai trees aren't big. damn. there goes that fulfilled with for big boobs. hmmm...

Thursday, April 26, 2007 9:51:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

i would also wish for a better editor. the one around here sucks.

Thursday, April 26, 2007 9:53:00 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Beautiful post.

One of the things I love about our second-floor condo is that we have a fantastic view of the budding trees for those few fleeting days between barren and lush. It's going on right now, in fact. It's so beautiful, and I love how it holds the promise of wonderful things to come.

Thursday, April 26, 2007 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger April said...

I love your photos...they are beautiful. I've always had this love affair with trees and sunlight as well as new growth. They always seems beautiful to me.


Thursday, April 26, 2007 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Nature Girl said...

Well, as promised, you are already starting to make it up to me for that last post. I can't believe you added insult to injury and threw Hunter into the mix. Boy Howdy!

But you obviously love trees, and almost as much as I do, so you're off to a good start. This is my favorite of your posts so far, because this tells me we were so much alike as kids, it's scary. I spent all my time in trees with books as a kid trying to escape. I do the same as an adult when I need out...I find a tree.
"It's hard to be neurotic in the midst of trees"

one of my fave quotes...no Idea who said it...

Thursday, April 26, 2007 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger uhavegot2bkidn said...

During my elementary school years I grew up in a town near a large river. My dad got a large length of river barge rope and made a huge rope swing for me. Keep in mind the tree that he managed to tie it from was over a hundred feet high (probably 150+ years old) and 5 or 6 feet thick. The tree stood in the very back of our small yard, next to a rarely used public alley.
To say I loved that tree was an understatement. My dad wasn't around much when I was growing up and the swing represented to me that he did actually notice I was there. He did love me.
Not too long ago I went back to the house (upon hearing that the former owners allowed it to be repossessed by the bank) just to see what shape it was in.
The disarray of the home didn't sicken me a tenth as much as pulling up the driveway and seeing that they had cut my tree down.
I mourn it still.

Thursday, April 26, 2007 11:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't tell Queenie, but we have the house we own because of the trees. Money was tight and we didn't have many to choose from in this area but this one had 1 - 1/2 acres with trees all around the sides of the property and the house. The clincher was the huge silver maple that I may never be able to move away from. Our daughters have always had a tire swing on it and nearly every spring we enjoy maple syrup form it. Therapy in bark! I still, at 45, wander out and sit under it when I need a moment's peace. Thanks for sharing. Hope you're having a wonTREEful day.

Thursday, April 26, 2007 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

I forgot to mention in my earlier comment that, when we moved to our current house seven years ago, one of the things I fell in love with was the huge oak tree in the middle of the back yard. One of the first things Molly had me do when we moved in was to hang a swing from its largest limb (actually, I had one of the neighbors' more adventurous teenage sons hang the swing; thirty feet off the ground crawling on a limb was less appealing to me than it was to him). And we have a beautiful shade maple in the front yard.

Ah, trees. . .

Thursday, April 26, 2007 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Confused Husband said...

Well of course the world don't revolve around you silly. That's because it revolves around me.

If you asked nicely though I'd be willing to let it revolve around you for a day. :D

That was one the things I hated about hell (if you don't know for awhile Summer and I lived in Ok. we now call that place hell). There were no trees. I mean they had trees but not what I'm used to seeing here in Ca. Tall pine trees and thick redwood forests. I misse them while we had a short stint in hell.

Thursday, April 26, 2007 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger ArtfulDodger said...

As a young Dodger I would often hug trees, so impressed I was with their stately grandeur and sense of life and wisdom. This was before hugging trees became such an oddball symbol, but even today I often stop and look and enjoy them, me looking up at them and them looking down at me, each wondering what the other is thinking. I also was a tree monkey when I was a wee Dodger, growing up in the woods as I did, I spent more time being arboreal, than I did otherwise. :)

Thursday, April 26, 2007 1:34:00 PM  
Blogger Recovering Soul said...

Ah, so one of the things we DON'T like about our house is that the previous owner cut down (GASP!) all of the trees. There is one left in the front and one in the back. Previously the house was surrounded by them.

But, it seems as though the tree is more a metaphor for taking stock of our lives and slowing it down, a bit. Right?

Thursday, April 26, 2007 1:59:00 PM  
Blogger FTN said...

that's funny, fadkog, because at 14, i was also wishing for big boobs.

not so much for my own chest, but, you know, to look at and touch.

this comment brought to you by the non-capitalization society of america. we'd have an acronym, but then, it would have to be capitalized, wouldn't it?

Thursday, April 26, 2007 3:04:00 PM  
Blogger Crazy Computer Dad said...

In Virginia Beach, you can always tell the newer developments from the older. There are not trees in the newer ones. Most of the new ones were farmland that haven't had trees for decades or longer, but some they just bulldoze through to make way for expensive homes. Fortunately there are a lot of parks and some Wildlife Sanctuaries, but mostly it reminds me of "paved paradise and put up a parking lot" paying to see the trees in a museum. I love taking trips through the Blue Ridge mountains or the northeast during Autumn. The air tastes and smells so crisp and clean and the brilliance of the leaves seem to actually catch fire.

I've spent a lot of time lately wishing for things that I know will not come true. I know what you mean.

Thanks for sharing a great post and reminding me of some great memories!

Thursday, April 26, 2007 5:46:00 PM  
Blogger The Savage said...

Save a tree; eat a beaver!!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007 8:25:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

ftn - and so, in the begging department, what tree should i expect you to be?

kelly - it's truly the "promise of new" that makes me relish this point in the seasons. i've been standing out my front door waiting for this beautiful flowering shrub to burst forth that charms me every year. every day, it's a bit closer!

april - so glad you stopped thru! i've been wondering about you. i get handbags and an assortment of other tricks and treasures when i've gone to hunt down your place!

stacie - sorry about the "hunter" thing. i wasn't a big tv watcher. babysitting for families who didn't have cable was tough, though! glad i was able to make a tiny step toward making it up to you here. i saw pink flowering trees this afternoon while on a field trip for school and thought "dang! that probably would have really brought stacie back to my side!"

uhave - thank you for the visit and the comment. your story reminds me, in part, of my inlaw's home. their back yard has many large and sturdy trees, and in one is secured a board swing. how it ever was placed there, i can't even imagine. the tree is so very tall. but i've spent many hours there watching my sons swing from that tree, and i hope they remember it as fondly as i do the recollection of their faces and laughter as they've done so.

hope you'll pass through here again.

xi - when we moved here, honestly, i made it a condition that we move to a neighborhood that already had some trees established, purely based on my childhood memories. our backyard has four gorgeous trees in the back, and they were young when we signed the contracts, but there was potential there. i'm amazed how they've grown in the short time we've been here.

as for the whole syrup thing, that's way too pioneer for me! i'll bet it's good, though. my store bought brand will surely mock me now!

desmond - would you and molly care if i came to visit sometime? cripes! i never had a tire swing anywhere!

confused - can my day be saturday? i want a leisurely day, not like wednesday.

of course, you know i'm just saying all this because essentially, no matter what you say, i am going to think the world revolves around me anyway, right?! heh!

art - i was never a tree monkey as a child. probably too dang scared to try to climb them. that and my raging fear of heights. that's probably what the trees are doing when i gaze upon them. mocking me for my cowardly demeanor! i shall love them, regardless! but they should probably learn to be a little nicer.

rs - ah! the methaphor is exactly what i was going for. it just took me many, many paragraphs and i'm still not sure i achieved it!

ftn - you know i'm probably going to cave to your campaigning, don't you. and not just because we must use the word 'boob's at every opportunity.


cc dad - welcome! glad to see another new face sharing their words here. i would love to see your area of the country sometime, actually. and i quite imagine all of our neighborhoods are bearing the brunt of newer developments. my area is in a race every spring/fall. houses and whatnot cropping up.it's so vastly different here day to day. glad you shared here, and that you'll be inclined to return.

savage - ...and capping the night off with a bit of poetry...heh!

Friday, April 27, 2007 12:28:00 AM  
Blogger Nanette said...

um...flickr....um....you know you want to join.....today's subliminal message brought to you by the letter T

I love to drive through a particular area of Salt Lake where the trees are like a canopy over the street. For some reason, I feel really warm and fuzzy under the leaves. (Maybe I'll cruise up there in the future and snap some pics)

Watching all of my plants come back to life in the spring--how fast the transformation occurs is amazing. I watched my bleeding hearts go from stumps to 3 feet high in a week.


Friday, April 27, 2007 2:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Queenie once thought it was a bit too pioneer for her tastes too .... now, tho, she's hooked and couldn't bear for me to skip a year of syrupping. Alas, we only manage a quart or two a season from a single tree, but it's so much better than the stuff in bottles and cans ..... fresh as fresh can be!! From the boiling pot to the waffles ..... same day service.

Friday, April 27, 2007 6:52:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

nanette - um...yeah...there's a chance i may or may not already be sucked into that flickr thing. a little bit. i don't require a deprogramming yet, if such be the case! but if i were, i'd suggest we drive around and take lots of pictures together!

xi - i'm sure anything that doesn't contain a laundry list of ingredients and chemicals is downright tasty. especially on my chemically enhanced frozen eggos!

Friday, April 27, 2007 8:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I think of trees I think of the redwoods near my house growing up. They were so huge and so impressive. if you walked through those forests you could literally forget it was midday because the shade made it feel like perpetual dusk. I miss the power and outright grandeur of those trees.


Friday, April 27, 2007 5:38:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

finished - one day, i'd love to spend some time out there and take in the redwood forest. that's all i'll say about that before i start sounding like john denver!

Monday, April 30, 2007 12:18:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home