artist - musician - craftsman
and furniture maker
[March 14, 2021]
simply revland: the treehouse (1962)
I’ll never forget the view as I sat comfortably in the penthouse, or the “crows nest,” as I so proudly called it. It was the third level of my treehouse, my bachelor pad, 30 feet off the ground, my official den of iniquity. Musty old pillows stuffed into an old burlap potato sack, neatly and precisely nestled into one of the remaining high-level tree crotches, made for a comfortable place for my back side . . .
. . . complete with a rich supply of Reader's Digests, crammed into a shelf unit strapped to a corresponding branch. It was impressive. The reading material was simply a distraction, only there to impress others . . . the others that unfortunately never came, due to the fear factor attached to the skill level required to reach this high level of achievement. I never realized that 30 feet seemed like 50 to a fellow 9-year-old. A monkey I was.
The middle level required summoning more material from under the porch, which oddly seemed to replenish itself as I used it, I naively surmised. Oh . . . to be 9 again. However, I guess I was smart enough to avoid nailing boards into the tree, this 100-year-old grey Elm straddling the property line between us and the Gustafsons. So I used a lot of rope, which I also found under the porch, and cut the wood to precisely fit between the limbs. I learned how to tie a square knot in the Cub Scouts, which really came in handy. This middle level was my living room, my parlor, much easier to access by my friend, Beaver, and served as a comfortable area for us to discuss politics.
The lowest level of the treehouse was my pride and joy . . . my bedroom. About 10 feet off the ground, and the most cozy spot in the tree. I spent a lot of energy designing this area, knowing I would actually be sleeping there when the folks weren’t aware of it. It turns out that this was no secret to Cletis and Edna, as they continued to supply me with an abundance of freedom and independence. I, at one time, assumed all children were given this gift of freedom. I later discovered that this freedom was mine, I had earned it, and that the other kids on the block weren’t as deserving. Oh my. I guess I was 9.
Oh how I wish Dad had taken photographs of my treehouse, and perhaps he did. But I guess one must at times use their imagination to recall specific memories from years ago. Think of this story as fiction, even though it’s very much real. Picture yourself in the crows nest. Try and feel the cool breeze as it brushes your face and whistles by your ears . . . ruffling your hair. Crack a smile and remain as still as possible, as a tiny sparrow lands just feet from you, oblivious that small human beings can actually invade their territory without startling them..
Try and feel the tree swaying back and forth, causing a bit of unease, as you make your way down to the lower level bedroom. Lay down in that bed . . . and gleefully peer through the leaves at the flowering crab next door. Imagine that no one is aware that you even exist, as this is actually what appealed to me at the time. I was a certified loner, but had good reason to be. We will discuss that next Sunday.