The doorway into my imaginary home was the branch I used to pull myself up into the crabapple tree. The branch next to it was my kitchen and the branch beyond it, the living room. On the backside of the tree was the bedroom branch.
At the age of five, cheered on by my siblings, this was the first tree I had learned how to climb. For the rest of my childhood, despite climbing many other trees, the crabapple stayed my favorite. I spent hours in it, thinking, imagining, making up stories and eating frozen chocolate chip cookies I’d filched from the new chest freezer in our farmhouse basement. Each year, when my tree’s small apples had rosy cheeks, I’d sit on the kitchen branch munching on these close-to-hand snacks.
Like the garden of Eden, the farmyard I grew up in was filled with many beautiful flowers with names I learned as well as the names of my siblings. Flowerbeds bordered the front and back of the farmhouse where there was a shrine to the Virgin Mary. Lawn chairs and a lawn-swing provided wonderful places to sit. Continue reading