Sunday August 5th, 2012

The exercise:

Write something which takes place in: the tree house.

We spent a relaxing morning hanging out on the deck with my sister and brother-in-law, reading the newspaper, that Jake picked up in town, and enjoying the shade. This afternoon we brought lunch to the beach and again enjoyed the shade, though Kat and I did venture out into the sun to dunk ourselves in the lake.

I may or may not have fallen asleep on my beach towel while the others went to get gelato. This report remains unconfirmed.

After dinner with Kat's parents (roasted chicken, potato salad (made by Kat), buttered broccoli, coleslaw, and rice pudding for desert), we took advantage of our guests presence to harvest potatoes, cabbages, green beans, cherry tomatoes, and blackberries for our local customers. We'll get the rest (greens, carrots, beets, etc) tomorrow morning, but sadly Sue and Jake are heading back to Calgary bright and early so they won't be around to help out.

We will, of course, make sure they take home as much produce as their car can hold.


During the daylight hours we would watch the ground beasts from the safety of our home amongst the trees. Hardly daring to breathe, we waited for each new arrival to pass on, praying none would find cause to look up.

When night descended we would follow suit, our feet rejoicing in the feel of Mother Earth beneath them once more. Supplies were gathered in a frenetic rush, the return of dawn thundering toward us at varying and unknowable speeds.

There was only one unbreakable rule: Don't let sunrise catch you beyond the walls of the tree house.

Some days that meant going hungry, others were spent with cracked lips and sandpaper mouths. It was, we all understood, better to be safe than sorry.

Because the ground beasts could make a man very, very sorry indeed.


Greg said...

Sounds like a very pleasant way to spend the day, though I wonder how many visitors you'll get in summer/autumn when they figure out that you're using them as cheap labour :-P Is "made my Kat" like "made my day"?
The ground beasts are intriguing by their very anonymity! I like the unbreakable rule, and that people respect it so much that they'll accept being hungry and/or thirsty. That tells us quite a lot about these ground beasts without ever describing them :)

The tree house
When Oskar told me about his tree house, I pictured a small wooden construction perched in the branches of a large tree, something spreading and shady. Then I thought more about the kind of person Oskar is, and I considered that the tree house was probably a two-storey, six room affair, and probably palatially outfitted, while the tree would look like barely more than a sapling, trembling under its load. Naturally, Oskar would have some carefully concealed and terrifically clever way of supporting the tree house so that the tree didn't carry the weight at all.
So when he showed me the tall, thin house that contained a living, growing tree, branches poking out of windows and skylights, and tangled, gnarled roots providing steps to the front door, I was surprised.
"You built a house for your tree?" I said, staring upwards to the roof, where squirrels were racing around, chasing each other.
"I had to," said Oskar, and suddenly I didn't want to ask him what he meant by that.

morganna said...

I'm back! This has been quite the summer, including food poisoning & more. Definitely hoping I won't disappear again -- we need to stay well around here.
Growing up in the desert, we had no trees large enough for a tree house in our yard. So my dad bought big four by four posts, eight feet long, and he sunk them three feet in the sandy ground, nine of them. He laid plywood on top of them, securely attached, and built a railing and a tiny single room on top with a ladder going up. There was a tire swing at the side, and a door and two windows to the room.

That unpainted wood shack was a marvelous place to us. And when it was too hot to play upstairs, it was always shady underneath, and we spent many happy hours digging shallow holes and tunnels and flooding them with water. My parents were afraid we would undermine the whole thing, but we never dug near the posts, though I appreciate their fear much more as an adult.

The tree house is gone now, my dad dismantled some years after I left home. It violated the subdivision's covenants, but had been winked at by the neighbors. When it was no longer in use, my parents thought it best to take it down.

Marc said...

Greg - most seem to actually enjoy the work, so we don't bother making a secret of it :)

Ugh, typos galore lately. And I must have read that over three times before publishing it too.

Great little vignette. And, while I understand your narrator's hesitance to ask, I would very much like to know why he had to!

Morganna - welcome back! Sorry to hear you've been away for unpleasant reasons, but I hope you stay healthy and well - both for your sake and so that you're able to share your writing with us :)

That sounds like a pretty awesome structure! I would have had a blast playing with that as a child.

(Probably still would)