Trees of Anderwood

Monday, January 13, 2014

When my family moved to the country we left behind climbing trees. Our yard, small as it was, had trees--maple, pine, magnolia, and redbud. The pine trees out front were trickier to climb and you had to be small. At three years old my sister climbed to the very top of one and got stuck. Our seven-year-old brother had to rescue her--no one else was old enough or could fit between the thinly spaced branches.

The maple was prime tree climbing. It grew in the middle of the pea graveled yard and had two branches low enough for young children to grasp onto, swing up into, and stand on to reach for the next branches. Its branches were strong, long, and lean.

After we moved, my siblings and I scoured the farm for good climbing trees. We came up empty. All of the old oaks had branches too far off the ground to reach without a ladder. Much later, when I was tasked with homeschooling my two youngest siblings for a week, we left behind books and went outside for a second search for a climbing tree. We found one whose branches we could reach thanks to a newly erected fence. It wasn't quite the same.

Dearth of climbing trees aside, we have trees. Massive old oaks that hold nesting eagles. Osage orange with their wood so hard that when dry a chainsaw will send sparks flying. We have black walnuts. Hickory.

A project for this year: identify the trees of Anderwood. A weekend project. An afternoon project. Something to do with a small niece or a guest. It'll be one of those on-going, slowly completed things.

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© The Attic at Anderwood Maira Gall.