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The Tree

Story ID:8536
Written by:Richard Laurent. Provencher (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:Retired
Story type:Story
Location:Truro Nova Scotia Canada
Year:2012
Person:Richard L. Provencher
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The boy began climbing this elm about fifteen minutes ago. When he first checked Victoria Park, he wanted the tallest tree. And this one looked tall enough to reach the clouds. Perhaps it would take him to a giant’s haven as in Jack and the Bean stock.

At first the going was tough, too many branches unable to hold his weight. His sneakers gasped across the rough bark, one sweating step at a time. It wasn’t his fault he had been placed in this situation. Mom and dad were on their usual rant, and answering back led him to the cliff. He had to get away. Losing his computer for a week was too much. He had to go; anyplace to cool down.

A solid toe hold led him to a new branch. Shifting his weight he grabbed onto a branch and swung higher. Don’t look down. Dad always said to keep your focus on where your destination was. Dad often told him of his climbs in the Rockies many years ago. If only he had the courage to do that.

An eagle flew overhead; its swoops lifting up then floating like a runaway kite. Today started off al-right, the usual sleep-in an extra ten minutes. Then the nagging, “Get up, now.” It fed his annoyance. It kicked against his stubbornness, in the pit of his stomach, then out like a volcano. He could be a real pain sometimes.

The boy stopped climbing, not daring to go further. Another ten feet and he might be like that eagle, except he would not be floating. Zing, like a rocket going the wrong way. And that would not be fun. The boy decided to rest in the crook of this branch. By now he must be 75 feet in the air. A rabbit below seemed to be going in a circle, causing the boy to felt dizzy. Losing his hold on a large branch, he began to slide down the trunk. His hands flailed about trying to slow his descent. Hands scraped against toughened leaves. He was falling.

When the boy awoke he was sitting on the grass, leaning against the large elm. His hands hurt, as well as his arm. One sleeve was badly torn, a little blood showing. No wonder, it was a long fall. What happened? As if reading his mind, dad’s voice spoke up: “I caught you son.”

“Thanks, but it was such a long way. How could you stop my fall?”

“You were only about ten feet up,” dad answered. He looked grim. “Your being upset caused you to take chances. And your judgment was clouded. How did you come to pick this tree?”

“I think it’s the tallest in the park.” He was glad to be rescued by dad. “I’m not angry any more.” he said.

“Next time you feel this way, talk first, act later. Ok?

“Ok dad, the boy answered. “Can we go home now?”

© Richard L. Provencher
Website: www.wsprog.com/rp/