our backyard tree

I loved climbing the tree to my platform. You climbed up three bricks of wood nailed into the trunk to get to the spot. I think one of my brothers and my father had nailed that platform into the V-shaped gap about 12 feet up. I sat on a two-foot by two-foot piece of wood, my platform.

To be an artist or a writer, I’ve wondered if it’s necessary to be an outsider.

This is Central Park a couple of weeks ago after the beautiful snow storm. There is nothing so beautiful as Central Park after it snows.
This is Central Park a couple of weeks ago after the beautiful snow storm. There is nothing so beautiful as Central Park after it snows. (It doesn’t have to do with the post, but isn’t it pretty?)

From the platform in the tree, I could be on the margins of our big suburban house, not far from the action. But far enough away to be alone.

Having three brothers, all around my age, I was the only girl for many years, I was, at times, lonely, different, misunderstood.

There was no way a tree could misunderstand me. The tree was simply a tree, asking for nothing. I appreciated the non-judgmental nature of a tree.

I had sinus headaches regularly. The pediatrician took pinpricks on my arm weekly, until he, a George Castanza kind of guy, determined that I was allergic to mold and dust; trees and grass. I was especially allergic to Oak and Elm, the two kinds of trees in our suburban Chicago yard.

I rarely climbed the backyard tree as I got older and started high school. Instead, I hung out in the kitchen of our next-door neighbor Mrs. Zimmer. She administered my weekly allergy shots. We talked a lot. I felt understood. I remember once we talked about Zoroastrianism.

I liked our backyard tree; I liked my adult friend; I liked relief from my sinus headaches.

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