My favorite tree in all the world is the huge White Oak tree at my folks' place. The tree is right next to where they built our house, on the side of a hill. When I was a kid, we used to climb all over that tree. One of us would lay on the ends of the long limbs while one or two of the other of us kids would grab a branch and make the tree limb go up and down like some big boat riding the waves. I remember climbing up high into it, one time too far and scared myself half to death climbing back down. It is a huge tree, and some of the branches are pretty far apart. I look up at that tree now and can't believe that I ever had the nerve to climb up it. As the tree has aged, various limbs have broken off &/or died (I'm sure our rides on them didn't help), and my dad has amputated them here and there. Tree climbing and limb riding was banned. Thank goodness, since I wouldn't want to see my kids climb up as high as we used to. Older and wiser equals chicken shit nerves, especially when it could mean death or dismemberment to my kiddos.
Anyway, the tree looks different now, with some of the big limbs gone. But if you had never seen it before now, with all it's previous lower limbs entact, you would not think it looks like it's missing much of anything on it. I took this picture of it this evening with my new camera phone.
When I was 8 years old and approaching my next birthday, all I wanted and begged my mom and dad for was a porch swing. I wanted to hang it in the oak tree. I was the youngest of 5 kids and in the late 1960's, for my folks to spend about $50 on one kid's birthday gift was not common. We just didn't have that kind of money. But I begged and begged. I think a porch swing for a 9-year-old was an unusual birthday desire, and my mom and dad came through. To this day there is a porch swing hanging where we first hung my birthday present.
When you sit in the swing, you overlook the river flats. The river makes a big, wide bend, so the flats are big. That's where the garden is, and next to that is a field where mom and dad used to grow hay. It's still a nice hay field. Near that are pines and further on are spruces that my dad planted. Lots of other trees, too, next to the river. In the spring and summer are always tons of wild flowers. It's a beautiful spot. Sitting in that swing on a hot summer day, catching a breeze and looking at all that beauty... ah...
That old oak tree has so much character to it, and since Mom put a face on him, he's got even more.