Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Trees (12/05/05)
TITLE: Johnny Micco Gravy Bone
By Naomi Deutekom
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Johnny Micco Gravy Bone was the name of a clump of basswood trees and the favourite hang out for five small children. I was one of this motley crew who made their second home this clump of trees every summer. Why Johnny Micco Gravy Bone? I have no idea. We were a goofy bunch of kids who came up with many crazy names for things. What I do remember is the fun we had there as we imagined many adventures.
The Johnny Micco Tree, as we came to call it, was not the only significant tree in my childhood. The big fir trees and lilac bushes beside my grandmother’s house also played a part in igniting my imagination. We put on our dress up cloths and crawled under the fir trees and through the centre of the lilacs into a secret hiding place. There we had tea parties and entertained many imaginary guests.
Trees were also for climbing. Beside the church was a row of very large trees. My mother insisted that I wear shorts under my dress on Sunday mornings. After church, she would usually find me hanging upside down from one of the branches.
As I grew older my experience with trees changed. First, came the era of fort building. Living on forty acres of woodland, far from the nearest neighbour, gave us lots of room. My siblings and I spent many hours trying to out do each other with grander and grander styles of tree houses. We built forts with basements, several floors, railings and porches.
We learned a new use for those clumps of basswoods too. If you climbed the bigger shoots, you could hop onto thinner ones and bend them down to the ground. It was great fun to climb many feet into the air, grab a branch and fly to the ground. I’m surprised we all made it through our middle years with no broken bones.
In my teenage years, trees served yet another purpose; one of solace and escape. Living out in the bush, was helpful when things got tough at home. Near the lake front, down my favourite trail, was a tree that hung out over the water. Its branches formed a seat that was perfect for a troubled teen to rest and think about her life and the world around her. It was here that I ran when I needed peace and quiet. God blessed me with that tree, for here I cried, prayed, and played my flute when things got rough.
I still love trees. Hiking, camping, and riding in the bush or up in the mountains still fills my soul with the awe of God’s creation. Trees ground me and remind me of what is really important in this life. As I look back on the influence of trees in my life, I am surprised at the impact they have had. All of God’s creation is healing to my soul, but trees have held a special place in my personal journey. I know they will continue to do so in the years to come.
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