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I grew up in a Willow tree.

It’s not true, but that’s how some members of my family remember it. I know I came down occasionally, like at meal times, and for winter.

My favorite companions (with siblings coming in a close second), were Heidi, Frodo, Hans, Jo, and a dozen others that I smuggled into the leafy branches on a warm summer afternoon. I gripped them in my teeth while I swung myself up around the first large branch, twisted around the wide trunk and was able to deposit my treassure in a gap between the four main supports to the canopy above.

I wasn’t all about books. I played as hard as I read, and did my chores dutifully, if not with the same passion. But the allure of our backyard tree, the solitude, the breezes, the greenness, and the triumph of lying back on a branch with no side support, escaping to another world, and never falling out, could not be equaled.

Eventually I grew up (in theory). But I’ve not yet found a sufficient replacement. I keep looking. When we planted trees in our yard, I begged for a majestic hard wood (since a willow was long ago vetoed), but I had to concede to smaller trees that better fit the size of the lot. I wonder if I was subconsciously still looking for the perfect place to read.

Everyone who enjoys a good book, needs a haven.