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.