The bendy tree
The bendy tree was unhindered by leaves and stood, seemingly dormant, but proud, in a secluded spot in the park.
It had been standing there for as long as I could remember.
When I was a toddler I used it as a climbing frame, but that was before modern health and safety regulations stipulated that climbing frames required solid handrails and non slip, non abrasive landing zones, of which it had none.
When we were that age, we climbed what we wanted, without second thoughts or regard for danger. There were accidents of course, but nothing of note to write about. The tree seemed to have forgotten how to grow, because it is no taller today than it was yesterday. Anyway, other than a splinter or two, the tree has never been the cause of a major problem.
We had names for it of course. Names that sprung from our childish imagination.
Some called it the Rhino Tree and others The Toucan and it was often subject to rhymes and dares.
“You can, you can, climb the Toucan, The Toucan you can.
We would run rings around its trunk, skipping carelessly, endlessly going round in circles.
Cue bashful giggles.
Curiously, I never felt the need to give it a name. It had always felt more important than a mere appellation.
Later, when the centre of my world shifted romantically I would still pass by the tree on my way to and from school.
It frequently gave the signal to search for a hand to hold, or the exact moment to reach for warm lips to embrace.
Often a meeting point, at other times it was a place to seek shelter from rejection somewhere I could wipe away the tears of a break-up, or a lovers tiff.
I’m not ashamed to admit that at times I’d taken it into my arms and taken strength from its trunk, feeling somehow connected, through its roots, to the very earth beneath my feet.
I’d tell it all about my life and through the years I’d like to think that it grew to know me intimately.
I continued to visit it after my marriage and the birth of my children, although their visits were more for me and through me, than for themselves.
They were, after all, of their world, and my tree was of mine, in its own deliciously intimate way.
Alone I’d give it a wave as I jogged by, and on family walks, if we didn’t stop, although we often did, I’d give it a mental nod as we passed by.
As the years past it became a resting place after an afternoon walk where I’d swap my walking stick for its solid trunk, and remain while my mind rambled where it wanted to go.
When walking was a thing of the past, my tree was in its silver gilt frame near my bedside, and even as a photograph, it gave me strength to breathe into another day.
This is my second entry to what I hope will be a regular weekly flash fiction challenge. As is often the case a photo is provided and a short fiction of less than 500 words is required. Thanks Donna for this opportunity.
Unusually I read Donna’s story before I wrote my own (I don’t like reading other entries before mine!) Her story is of a Fairy Tree and it reminded me of one that I photographed in the Stornoway Castle Gardens during a holiday to the Outer Hebrides last year. I couldn’t resist using it as my featured photo in this post.