I picked that title because of a GNR song about “her hair reminds me of a warm safe place, where as a child i’d hide” I was prompted to write about a place where, as a child, I felt safe. I immediately thought of an old tree nestles in the mountains behind my house.
My younger years were spent in a small village in the mountains of TN. A village that still to this day seems stuck in time. A place most people will never know about or even care. But this was my humble home. I mountain village of less than 2000 people. A land where you can quite literally stand among the clouds.
Our home stood on a hillside. A large house of aging wood and stone masonry. The old stone flower beds brimmed with wild flowers and a large cypress tree. Immediately behind our home the woods stretched onwards and upwards for miles. It was these woods I would spend most of my time in. As you ventured into the woods a babbling brook divided the “lawn” from the unruly forest. A small landing of sand and rock gave me a spot to sit and think.
Above this island was a large and rather old oak tree that jutted awkwardly from the steep hillside. erosion had worn away the soil and left its large gnarled roots exposed. The roots snaked downwards, desperately seeking the earth. And in their chaotic search to reconnect with mother earth, there was a child sized cave. Using wire from a long forgotten fence and bark from a fallen tree, I created a camouflaged blind.
When times were tough or I just wanted to be alone, I would crawl inside my blind and quietly watch as the world went by. Sunlight filtered through the trees and danced on the shady floor. Birds flew to and fro in search of their next meal. Squirrels chittered as they ran from tree to tree. The smell of fresh loamy earth would bring a calm and peace. In that tree I felt safe. Safer than any other time or place.