I’m taking y’all back to my backyard when I was a little girl, where you will find my room with a view – our old popcorn tree. No need to count how many years ago that was. I’m sure you understand the time frame.
This tree was so beautiful. It was the first thing you saw as you walked out of our back porch, with big arms inviting you to crawl up them. She stood firm connecting our house to the backyard, as an entry point to the best place to play in the world.
I can still feel and smell the bark. When blooming, her little white flowering specs on the branches were pure and simple and beautiful. I would climb up to the top of the tree so I could see what all was going on in the neighborhood. I’d create a crown with the monkey grass that encircled the base of the tree. I’d sit high in the branches, and pretend I could fly. I remember always trying to reenact some play from school or church on the elevated surface that surrounded her. I remember I had this massive boom box always with me, and there was one spot that could hold it perfectly. Swinging from her branches I would sing at the top of my lungs whatever was belting on the radio waves, and down below, I would create dance routines to the beat of the music. I could always be creative there. And, I could sit there and dream.
I’m not a big fan of heights, but for some reason I was never scared in that tree. I could climb her branches so fast, and never really thought about how high off the ground I was. I can remember the rebellion and independence that surged through my veins as I managed to climb those branches without anyone knowing. I always knew my sister was somewhere close, and I knew when my mom and dad were arriving home from work. I could run out and greet them, or sneak back into the house and try to clean my room by stuffing some of my clothes into drawers. It felt safe, and that was all I needed.
And, best of all, when I was tired of playing or finished with my performance, my family was just a dinner table away.