When I was small, trees were magic. Especially the trees outside our church.
As preschoolers, my brother and I discovered friendly low branches that invited a climb. Every pint-sized Sunday school attendee welcomed that magic.
Moms, however, did not appreciate magic trees — especially mulberries. They transformed starched-white-shirt-and-ruffly-dress VBS populations into glorious, purple-tie-dyed messes.
Trees remained magical throughout my childhood, serving as bases, houses, castles and cathedrals. Schoolyard bike races morphed them into traffic cones. On sweltering days, I stayed within Mom’s sight under our backyard’s shady oak, yet traveled thousands of miles as I devoured library books.
Now an adult, I have planted trees that infuse oxygen into our atmosphere, provide shade and enhance property values. But I hadn’t visited magic trees for a long time.
Until our extended family’s campout, when sullen clouds alternately spat on us and poured rain like a waterfall.
Thanks to yummy pancakes and sausage, the group survived the morning. When rain held off, older kids found plenty to do. But as parents of a five-year-old and his three-year-old foster brother tried to fix a group lunch, the little boys seemed destined for war.
Anyone with sense would have run for a bomb shelter. But I am Grandma. Edging them out of range, I blurted, “Let’s visit magic trees!”
Perhaps the skeptical three-year-old had seen too much to believe in magic. But he followed his brother and me to an empty campsite, where the five-year-old beat on a maple with a stick.
He chortled, “Now the tree’s awake!”
I’d wake up, too, if clobbered with a six-foot cudgel. “What’s the tree saying?”
“He says I should visit a different tree.”
By now, the three-year-old was a believer, too. We awakened all the empty campsite trees. Some also told us to visit different trees. But several told stories about nesting birds and skittery squirrels. Special trees talked only when tapped the perfect number of times. Then they whispered tales understood only by the chlorophyll crowd and preschoolers.
One oak interrupted, “Time to eat. I’ve been calling you for ten minutes.”
Correction: Hubby had entered the land of magic trees.
Instantly, my fellow adventurers dashed for the dining tent.
“Couldn’t you have waited?” I said irritably. “That tree was just about to tell us whether they make a noise when they fall.”
He rolled his eyes, as if barbecued chicken and macaroni salad could compensate for his breaking the sweet spell.
The five-year-old and I could visit magic trees again. However, court dates threatened to keep the three-year-old from adventuring with us.
But for one misty summer morning, he talked with magic trees.
I pray he will do it again.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you visited magic trees lately?