Trees are beautiful and majestic. I remember the pine tree on the back corner of our yard at the house in Ellet. There weren’t many limbs that were good for climbing, they were too close, too thin, and too gooey with pine tar, but we still managed to hoist ourselves up through the tightly spaced branches to reach a height that made the adults look up with concern. Don’t go too high was always the admonition. It never felt that high. We climbed under the illusion of childhood invincibility, a trait we didn’t even know we possessed.
That old pine was the only real tree on our property in suburban Akron. I say real because it was years before my father planted a Sunburst Honey Locust in the front yard at my mother’s request. The locust tree was so delicate and frilly, nothing like the ancient sentinel in the backyard. We would never climb Sunny. That was the name we gave to the tree.
The last time I drove past our former home, Sunny stood head and shoulders above the little white Cape Cod where I spent my grade school years. I don’t know if the pine was still there. I drove slowly past the house but didn’t linger long enough to make anyone suspicious. I really need to see if the pine still stands. As tightly packed as the cookie cutter houses were placed, removing the pine would be a precarious job best left to the professionals. Until that sad day, I hope many more small hands grasp the gritty branches, hauling little bodies skyward, as the camphorous odor of pine sap assaults little noses.