Trees are awesome, so much so that they deserve their own day of the week. That day is Tuesday. I’ve been celebrating Tree Tuesday for some time now on my Flickr photostream, and plan to continue that celebration on here. To start things off I wanted to share a story I wrote about the role the forest played in my childhood development.
Infinite Forest –
The forest played a big role during my childhood. At the end of our suburban development thirty miles north of Seattle stood a modest forest. How big exactly I cannot say for sure, but to me at it felt almost infinite in size. Known simply as ‘The Forest’ amongst the neighborhood kids, it served as a setting to many of my favorite childhood memories.
Situated at the end of a rounded cul-de-sac, kick ball games, squirt gun fights and Fourth of July picnics were held in its midst. On hot summer days and rainy cold autumn afternoons alike, my friends and I would spend countless hours within its confines. We knew its layout like the back of our hand, having built a small network of trails throughout for easy navigation. Landmarks were given simple names such as First, Second and Third Tree, each of which where fallen trees which left large craters in the ground and exposed root systems. When a tree fell between them during a particularly violent storm we simply named it ‘Middle Tree’.
Life felt simple within this infinite forest. We played games of tag (which we called ‘The Game’), hide and go seek, rode our bikes through it and built forts. We got dirty, bruised and injured ourselves; I have a scar on my knee which serves as a memory of the time I fell off First Tree while attempting to run down the length of its trunk. We had a great respect for the forest even if we did not truly know how lucky we were to have it at our disposal.
Towards the end of my time in elementary school signs that the forest didn’t indeed belong to us began to pop up. Paint and surveyors’ tags were marking trees and proposed land use signs were posted. We feared their presences and worked tirelessly to remove them, even if it was inevitably a lost cause. The impending demise of The Forest hung heavy on my mind as I mentally prepared for the forest’s destruction at some point in the near future. Ss the days turned to weeks then months and years the dozers had yet to arrive. The lapse in time eased my worries and as I got older moving into my teens it seemed as though the forest was here to stay.
By the time high school arrived adventures into The Forest lessened as my interested turned to girls, my first job, and obtaining my drivers license. The exact date the bulldozers finally arrive escapes my memory, though I will never forget the empty feeling in my stomach as I watched The Forest being toppled by the machinery leaving a barren landscape. Suddenly the area where the infinite forest once stood seemed rather small and depressing. A small part of me was lost along side those trees that day. In many respects The Forest’s destruction marked the end of my childhood and the beginning of my adult life.
Roughly a hundred or so houses where built on the land where the trees once stood. My parents still live in the house I grew up in, and every now and then I’ll venture to the point in which The Forest once stood, driving down the paved streets lined with homes envisioning in my head the locations of First, Second, Third and Middle Trees. I think of the modest forest at the end of the development often while hiking through the much grander stands of trees within the National Forests and Parks of the Pacific Northwest realizing how fortunate I was to have such a thing within walking distance of my home.