Monday, August 31, 2009


When I was a little girl, one of my favorite places to visit was my great-grandfather's farm. It was on acres and acres of land. Beautiful and peaceful. And it was a safe place for me.
One of my favorite memories of that farm was a large tree. I do not remember what kind of a tree it was, but it was tall and had large branches that provided a canopy for me. I would lie underneath that tree for hours, watching the squirrels scurrying around in the branches and listening to the birds singing their songs.
Sometimes I would read a book. Or just daydream.
It was a safe place, too. It sheltered me from the sun. It gave me a hiding place, a place to be alone. It provided a quiet haven.
Years later, in some kind of spiritual exercise, I was asked to draw a picture. Not being much of an artist, I went to the chapel with my paper and pencil to pray about it. I started to draw a tree. I was trying to figure out why I wanted to draw a tree, and then I remembered. Oh. THAT tree.
Had it meant that much to me that I would remember it so many years later?
And then I started to draw roots and I never remembered seeing huge roots on this tree. Maybe there were roots and I didn't pay attention. OR maybe it wasn't the physical roots that I needed to know about.
We know that roots are important. Not just for trees, but for children too. Give them roots so they feel secure and they know where they come from, where home is. Roots nourish. Roots ground us.
That tree gave me a home of sorts. A place I could count on. It nourished me as only a safe place can. It gave me a happy memory of my childhood. And for an incest survivor, happy memories are often hard to come by.
Maybe it isn't the actual tree that is so important. Maybe it is just those memories. And the farm and being with my grandparents. And the realization that I had found some safe places.
And roots.


sarah said...

I can feel the peace just reading this. Sarah

Just Be Real said...

Beautiful and peaceful Colleen. Thank you. This is close to heaven.... Glad you found the farm to be a safe place.

HeartfeltHeartLook said...

Sarah is right ~ very peaceful. Trees a good figure in Scripture too! Since then do you go there very often? I mean in your mind.

Colleen said...

Sarah, I am so glad! It was truly a peaceful place. And that picture I found looks almost exactly like it.

JBR, thank you. Yes, very close to heaven on earth.

Heartfelt, I seem to go months and not think of it. Then it is there! Like this week for some reason. It must come to me just when I need it!

Wanda's Wings said...

I glad you have this peaceful memory from childhood.

Colleen said...

Wanda, thank you. Blessings!

April_optimist said...

Beautiful post. I, too, remember trees from my childhood that gave me a sense of safety. And yes, roots do matter.

Patricia Singleton said...

I have always loved trees. Early in our marriage, I told my husband that I would follow him anywhere that he wanted to go as long as there were trees. Trees and nature keep me grounded and give me the roots that my family never did.

Colleen said...

April, thank you. I am amazed that others have similar stories. Roots do matter to all of us.

Patricia, I know what you mean about trees. Roots and stability. And safety. Thanks.

rox said...

How beautiful Colleen
my safe place was at my grandmothers and it was an acerage on the lake with a huge boreal forest . It is still the family homestead . This was my mothers side and my grandmother despised my father he was rarely allowed on her property and I know now she knew the monster he was but back then being a woman the only power she had to protect her grandkids was she owned her property . so she kept us safe there . I never realized the courage she put out until being an adult myself and having to also protect my own children .
How blessed we were to have those safe places Colleen !
Lets keep praying for all those little ones who's only safe place may be in thier hearts .
Much Love to You and Thank You for sharing this beautiful story .

Colleen said...

Bless you Rox. Thanks for sharing your story of your safe place. I will keep praying for sure!

Shen said...

I'm so glad Paul included this in the Carnival... or I might have missed it. This was a wonderful story, and it echoed my memories of the safe haven I found at my grandparents' house, as a child. I have writted a short story about my grandfather, which I am hoping to get publish. I wrote it on father's day when I realized that he was the one male role model I had that was completely positive, loving and encouraging.

It takes more to be a parent than to bring a child into the world. In fact, conceeving a child has very little to do with what a real parent is. Th most onderful "fathers" can be people like my grandfather - who was actually my STEP grandfather. He never had any biological children of his own but he gave me the most precious fatherly gifts one could imagine.

Colleen said...

Shen, I am glad you found it too! Thank you for sharing about your grandfather. I wish you luck on publishing your story!