By Eden Pearl
When I was younger, living in California, I spent much of my time outside. The house was built in the 60s, and the people we rented it from were former astronauts. There was a rock I remember loving: it was a huge rose quartz, and I threw it at the concrete to break it into pieces to share with my friends. I almost kind of wish I hadn’t. There were all kinds of plants. We had a lemon tree. My mother would juice fresh lemons we’d picked from our own tree, and that made the lemonade taste even better. There was a bush of these furry, red flowers, a bush of birds of paradise (which I never quite took a liking to, but they were there, in front of the room with the red carpet), bluebells, a giant rosebush outside my parents window, and a gorgeously massive oak tree I spent many hours climbing. I remember that every time I climbed it, to increase my grip, I would rub my hands against a rough part of the tree. I was never tall enough to climb up without a chair first. We had these white chairs with blue netting. The chair I put under the tree to climb was always shaky, because the ground was uneven. It felt risky, standing up the thin white armrests, but it was good. The branches reached out & made a nest for me, and I’d make eye contact with my neighbor’s dog over the fence, and he would bark at me. It was my tree. I went up there alone, and I’d sit for hours and just think. Sometimes I’d bring a book with me. Sometimes I wouldn’t. The tree was somewhere I had to go, not just a part of the environment. It was alone, old, and strong, and that’s what I wanted to be able to be.