Memories Are Made of Trees

We all have that one special tree that has taken root in the landscape of our memory. For me it is the weeping willow in my Grandma Mary's backyard. I think of that tree every time I see a weeping tree, willow or not, and especially when I hear Patsy Cline croon:

I stop to see a weeping willow
crying on his pillow,
maybe he's crying for me.

The last time I was in my grandma's backyard I couldn't believe how much smaller the tree was than the one planted in my mind. Regardless of its size, grandma's willow tree will always be the tree of my dreams.

Perhaps the tree my daughter will always remember is the huge, and I hate to say ugly, tree in the corner of our backyard. This is the tree she learned to climb, all the way to the top, much to my fear and amazement. We sent her up with one end of a long piece of twine to measure how high she could go: 27.5 feet! If only I trusted her to climb with my camera (honestly, I'm more worried about her safety than the camera's); I would love to see the view from up there.

Her urge to climb trees must come from George, as I have never mastered vertical exploration. When George was a little boy, his dad heard him calling for help, but couldn't find him anywhere. Eventually, his dad looked up and saw George sitting on the branch of an oak tree hanging out over the road. If only I had a picture. As we drive down his parent's road, I think about the little boy he once was, knowing no boundaries or limitations, getting stuck in the neighbor's tree.

This weekend, we will be creating even more memories of trees as we visit Apple Hill. The colors are just so vibrant this time of year and the apples are perfectly crisp. I plan on soaking it all in and letting my mind wander as I imagine someday having an orchard of my own. A horizontal territory of trees to explore.

How about you? What tree comes to mind as you rake the recesses of your memory? Your comments will be the perfect finale to my week of trees. Perhaps we will plant a little orchard of memories right here in blogville.


  1. and when the night turned gloomy, I heard him whisper to me, I'm lonesome as I can be.

    I love that song ;).

    We have a great tree in my front yard that my kids insist on climbing. I get a little flutter in my tummy every time I see them up there.

    I was never much of a tree climber, but I did climb on the roof of my house ... once. I fell off. I wasn't seriously injured, but that did it for me and climbing.

    Last time I went to my grandmother's house, there was a huge apple tree in the back yard that I don't remember seeing when I was growing up. Funny that I was there so often as a kid and never really saw that tree until I was an adult :).

  2. I have had many tree-friends during my life, but the one Avery's picture reminds me of was a favorite when I was 8-12 yrs old.
    My dad has always been the neighbor with the coolest/best-kept yard. But when I was little, he could not keep the lawn growing under the beautiful-huge-old sycamore in the backyard. I lived in that tree--which meant a lot of jumping OUT of it. The lawn couldn't grow 3-5 feet from the trunk. So poor dad started cutting off the lowest branches, trying to discourage me. When I couldn't jump high enough, I was forced to nail steps to the trunk (they disappeared). I got the ladder, then ropes, etc. Finally, I was simply forbidden to climb it, so I had to get subversive... I climbed up and down out of it by employing the fence...crawling to where I could reach a branch; from there I entered and left the tree...
    sometimes my neighbor came to the rescue and got out her ladder, making it easier to catch a limb from her yard.

  3. There was an open space lot 2 doors down from my house that had a huge old chestnut tree where the kids in the neighborhood would all meet and play. We'd climb the lower branches, build forts, collect chestnuts and play the day away.

    Now we have a fig tree in our back yard that the kids climb and that supplies us with figs twice a year. It's almost harvest time again.

  4. Two Trees And A Leaf:
    When you say memorable tree, the first thing I think of is an ancient apricot tree in my brother's back yard when Matt was quite litte. It was Matt's first tree victory and quickly became his first tree disaster. He mastered climbing up into the tree and then enjoyed leaping into our open arms. The only problem is he trusted us to be there when he jumped and one time I had turned away and Matt made like Superman on Cryptonite... the failures of parenting stay with you.

    The second tree burned in my memory was a pine on my aunt's and uncle's property in the mountains above Santa Cruz. When I was a teen, my cousin got us to join him in climbing up to the top of one of the tallest trees. Near the top of a pine, you will find there is less rigidity in the wood and therefore a great deal more travel when the wind blows. We could see the ocean from up there, but the terror of it still overshadows the beauty of the view for me.

    Finally, your theme of trees and leaves reminds me of a single leaf I saw on a walk years ago. Matt recently reminded me that I had described this one magnificent red leaf to him -- backlit by the sun -- a perfect red color in a perfect maple leaf shape so incredible that it filled me with joy. Remembering it now brings back the exhiliration. Thanks for the great theme this week. Mark.

  5. i have two tree memories actually. the big pine in my grandparents front yard that we would like to play in. actually there are old pics of that tree when my aunts and uncles were little (and some not even around yet) and it was just a wee lil thing. to think of how much it had grown since i've came around.

    the other tree was in my dad's backyard...another pine however it was up against a fence or something so most of the back was kinda missing. we would play in it too! i was one of those lil girls who loved forts but as long as it more of "home" then a boy type fort.

    thanks for bringing up the memories :)

  6. When I was a kid in Illinois, e had 2 big weeping willows in the back yard. One was my sister's and the other was mine. Or at least that's how we claimed them. Mine had lower branches for little me to climb easier and I remember swinging from the long branches, disappearing under the canopy of branches and breaking through to see the blue skies.

    Another tree memory is more recent.. A few years ago, I all of a sudden noticed these lovely trees everywhere! Along the side of the roads, in people's yards, in a parking lot at a restaurant.. "What is it??" I thought to myself. We went to the park one day and as I was admiring the bright pink buds, a woman stopped and said it was a Redbud tree. I thanked her and ran out to the nursery to get one and planted it in our back yard. I looked forward to every Spring when the pink buds sprouted and then in the summer I was left with heart-shaped leaves. We moved and left it behind, but our new house has over 25 Redbuds around the property. I'm happy!

  7. Verticle exploration -- nice. My sisters and I used to climb trees on our parent's property our entire growing up. I think that lent to me being a bit of a "tomboy." I can't recall what age we stopped climbing trees, at some point, swinging from a branch of a tree doesn't cut it for a teenage girl.

    I think I'll try again. . .

  8. I wish I could post a picture in the comments!! I just took some pictures of Avery in the tree from my side of the fence. They are pretty cute.

    Trees make me think of the tree tops we see looking out our sliders on the back of the house. When we were drawing up plans for the addition on our house 4 years ago, the architech kept saying what a great view we would have. I thought he was crazy. I kept thinking.. what view? the one into our neighbors yards? We are on a slope, so adding on to our house gave us a birds eye view. But come to find out, he was right. We have a great view. I often find myself in awe of beautiful sunsets with our "view" of trees.

    Thanks, Molly, for the week of trees. Have fun in Apple Hill!

  9. I'm SO jealous of your Apple Hill adventure, and can't wait to hear all about it.

    As for trees... two varieties come to mind.

    The pear tree in our backyard (well, one of our MANY backyards, gypsies as we were). Mostly though, I don't remember the tree so much as I remember gathering the fruit, in fear of wasps, for my mother's preserves. Then, watching her stand over the giant cauldrons on the stove and wondering if our ancestors were witches... what magic she could weave over a pot!

    The other, not a tree, but TREES. Pine trees. I used to lay on the needles and scare myself silly by watching them sway in the wind. I used to pretend that they were giants, guarding my grandmothers home, and I, a fairy hiding underneath them as battles unseen waged high above. Good times.

    I have truly loved your tree week!

  10. We still refer to the majestic old pine tree (just outside my bedroom window) as "The Beanstalk." If Robert was ever out of my sight for more than a few minutes, it was likely he was already halfway up the creeping vine that wrapped itself around the old tree. Back then, Robert was only, at the most, 5yrs old... and the tree was probably close to 3X as high as the roof of our house! I can still feel the pit in my stomach...

  11. My favorite memory of trees is from the Rockies of Utah. The wonderful sound of the Quaken Aspen sounds delicious when a breeze stirs the leaves.
    My front yard is adorned with a Chinese Tallow tree. It is a beautifully shaped tree, and when it turns in Fall is spectacular.
    I must agree about Mom's willow... it is special!

  12. Love that Patsy Cline song too. We had a willow tree on our farm that i painted once. It died. I miss it. That is my favorite kind of tree. They don't survive well here in GA. I've tried a few times.

    I grew up in Boston, right in the city, and they had us kids plant small trees along the roads of Back Bay, to beautify the neighborhood. I saw mine, decades later, on Exeter Street, full grown and majestic. I still think of it as my tree and am so glad that it survived city life.

  13. We love the whole idea of this post! Fabulous! We have always loved Weeping Willows, they always look so graceful, and we are sure magic happens underneath those waving wisps!
    When our greyhound passed away, several neighbors sent us a dogwood tree in memory of our four footed companion- the thoughfulness was amazing, and the blooms are beautiful!

  14. my grandparents had a weeping willow tree in their backyard and the branches brushed the ground. It was the perfect place to hide and play and imagine while the grownups all stayed inside doing whatever it was that grownups did...i always felt i had the advantage.

  15. Pine trees. No particular one, but I remember the pine trees in my grandmother's neighborhood. Climbing them, because they were easy, with all those stairstep limbs (I wasn't very good at the vertical exploration either), and getting pitch all over my hands that wouldn't come off for days.


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email: mollydunham@sbcglobal.net
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