The Tao and Zen of Tree People

When you’re eight, you are focused on living in the moment.

We took each day as it came. We had no thoughts or worries about bills and jobs and errands or what we would do when we were senior citizens. We weren’t even thinking about high school or college, let alone careers. All that was just too far in the future to take up our precious time. Our job was to do homework and have fun.

Life was good.

Summers were the best: no books and all about fun — from the moment we woke up till the moment we hit our beds at night and crashed from exhaustion.

We wanted a treehouse. Our own little private getaway away from all the older kids who didn’t want us playing with them and our pesky siblings who were always looking to spoil our fun. But we were girls and at that time, dads just didn’t build treehouses for daughters. Besides, skinned knees and Sunday dresses weren’t photogenic (no Photoshop then).

So we made use of David. None of the boys in the neighborhood were his age, so we let him in our group, especially when we went traipsing through the woods or we wanted to play with trucks. Surely if David asked his dad, he would build a treehouse for him. We even picked the tree.

We envisioned a one-room log cabin type of house up in the trees with window openings, a door and a wraparound porch with railings where we could sit and dangle our legs above the ground.

What we got instead was the a piece of plywood nailed to some two by fours surrounded by four pieces of plywood that made up the walls. I don’t remember if it had a roof. No stairs or ladders. Instead pieces of two by fours were nailed to the tree for us to climb.

It was the basic contractor model made from scrap wood — no upgrades available.

But it was about eight feet up a tree and it was ours.

We’d hang out there with our comic books, cards, board games. We even had a birthday party up there. I don’t remember whose birthday it was or whose mom baked the cake, but it was impressive that one of us was able to climb up there carrying a chocolate frosted layer cake — which remained intact.

Life was good in the trees. No one bothered us there, not even the squirrels. It was our secret place that was perfectly visible. It was peaceful among the leaves and other trees with a different life being lived eight feet below us.

We were tree people and I, for one, still am. Treehouses make the perfect weekend getaway place without having to travel. I have just the right spot for one in my yard.

Who wants to help me build one like this?  I might even agree to a time-share arrangement.


photo via



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