Friday, November 21, 2014

Abundance Tree

Do you ever feel concerned that today's children are at risk of growing up less connected to nature than to electronic media? —that children are now overprotected from exploring the natural world?

Then come down this suburban street with me. Technically, it's called a 'blind street'. But I think of it as an all-seeing street, because it opens my eyes so wide.

From the top of the street the green outline looks like a distant hill. As you get to the bottom of the street you will discover that the 'hill' is really something else:  I call it 'the tree at the end of the road.'
 To a child, this is wonderland. The tree is a puriri, a native of New Zealand. Not only is it robust, but it  also has a long life (one specimen is thought to be 2000 years old). Limbs decay and drop off, and others take their place. It's a perfect tree for climbing. Children have probably climbed in this tree for a hundred years or more.
 There are a lot of kids in this neighbourhood, and friendly parents who have added to the tree over time:
 first a swing in an old tyre, then a wooden horse swing, then a simple stick fastened firmly to a rope.
A ladder was added, and then another to help take-off for the adventurous,
 or to lead them up into the welcoming arms above.
 Coming down is always a little more tricky than going up.
 And then, just to finish off, here's a fun game. Why should a swing be nothing but a swing? That red rope can be twisted, and twisted, and twisted again,
 and then let fly, faster and faster, whirling around and around [sound track: delighted shrieks and giggles].
There's even a rocking horse for the very little ones to ride.
What a well loved tree this is. It welcomes in all the neighbourhood kids. It is full of possibilities. It offers different perspectives, from the ground looking up, to the higher branches looking out ('There's our house!') to the upper reaches into the leaf-filtered sky above.

Truly, this is an Abundance Tree.

We all need one. What is yours? What holds you in abundance, delight and openness to myriad possibilities and imaginative play? Do leave a comment, as I'd love to know your thoughts.

14 comments:

Hotly Spiced said...

We were down at the beach tonight (trying to cope with the heatwave) and my little guy spent a lot of time climbing trees. I agree that it's so important that we encourage kids to spend time outside using their imagination instead of being glued to a screen. That tree is stunning and how incredible that some are as old as 2000 years xx

Cottage Tails said...

oh wow now that is an abundance tree. So wonderful to see in this often over protective world

Juliet Batten said...

* Charlie, how great to see your little guy climbing trees. He is a great adventurer in the outdoors I know.

* Leanne, nice to see you here, and I'm glad you enjoyed the abundance tree.
thank you Charlie and Leanne.

sannekay said...

trees are pretty cool for parents and nannys to sit in too. I think I could manage a lower branch in this tree

Juliet Batten said...

Sannekay, that's delightful! Imagine a tree for all generations, each finding their own branch at just the right height.
Thank you for visiting, and posting. It's good to see you.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Juliet ... we need to open our kids' eyes to the natural world and you're definitely doing that for your grandchildren - well one for now, perhaps! Lovely we always used to love being free and being outside and playing ...

Lots of life to be found in trees, especially the ancient ones - they support so much .. let alone our kids' playing ...

Cheers and enjoy these times ... Hilary

Juliet Batten said...

Hilary, you too had a free outdoors childhood. Yes, those old trees certainly are full of life. Thank you.

Penny O'Neill said...

Sorry for being so late to arrive here to see such an abundant post, Juliet. Still nursing this cold, now an upper respiratory infection. On the mend, but, drugs fogging my mind. Sigh. Enough of my troubles, for how bad can they be with such a fabulous specimen that belongs to all! Look at Mira lending her footfall!

You know me and trees. There is the Copper Beech at the arboretum, and, now I've also discovered a cork tree there. When we moved into our old house, we had a small side yard the previous owners had planted a Wealthy Apple tree in. As time went on, we added on to the house and eventually build a deck there. The deck went around the tree. Not the most practical of solutions, but, respect for the tree. That tree held nests, fragrant blooms, apples, shade. :)

Penny O'Neill said...

I almost missed your posting, Juliet. Still sneezing and coughing and now, thankfully, medicated. So glad I caught my slight and saw this.

What a fabulous tree, Juliet; and there is Mira, leaving her footfall. You can imagine my glee at seeing this. My favorite tree is the Copper Beech at the Morton Arboretum, though there are so many trees in my life.
I can't help but be reminded of Shel Silverstein's book, "The Giving Tree:. Do you know it?

Juliet Batten said...

Penny, you made up for your absence by posting three times! So sorry to hear you are so sick, but good you have medication to help now. You are such a tree lover, & I love your tree stories. Nice to hear how you made room for the wealthy apple tree. I don't know that book; it will have to go on my list. As a child I loved Enid Blyton's 'The Faraway Tree.'

Marja said...

Oh what a delightful tree Love them We have one in Hagley park were my children used to climb in There is also one which is like a house There is an entrance between the hanging branches and under the tree you can climb as well.

Juliet Batten said...

Marja, how wonderful that you have a tree like this too. I like the sound of the tree like a house. Your children are so lucky to have had this.

Vicki Lane said...

You bring back wonderful memories of growing up in Florida. My grandparents had bog oak trees in their back yard and one of them had two wings -- for me and for my brother. When we got older we rigged a bag swing from and easily climbed jacaranda tree and the neighborhood kids flocked to join in the fun. A quick bike ride away was a giant banyan tree where a fiend and I would spend the afternoon, picnicking and reading comics up in its branches. Another friend's brothers built a three storied tree house where we held meeting of of ever so secret society - The Mystic Knights of Darkness . . Oh, you have brought back the memories.

My boys had play places on the mountain -- Fort Natural and Froghead were two . . . and my nieces had a playhouse under some giant rocks. Such fun!

Juliet Batten said...

Vicki, what rich memories you have of childhood trees. Thank you so much for sharing these stories. I too was a tree climber when I was young, and so was my mother before me. And your younger generation had rock huts - lucky them.