Today I Took The Ladder

Out of student loans and tree house homes, we all would take the latter (ladder?)

I hid out in my son’s tree  house today. It’s perpetually unfinished, lending even more depth to its special quality that can only be described as general awesomeness. My husband calls it “nine-year-old chic.”

The tree house, sometimes NASA command center, sometimes island in a vast green sea, stands sentry in the border territory between groomed (albeit irregularly) yard and wild woodlot.

typewriter keys

I had to come up here, somewhere away from the civilized confines of my house, because I have to report terrible things about Pam, who happens to be my editor’s favorite character in Devolution. I’m not doing terrible things to her, just peeping through a hole in the weathered boards between my room and hers, and writing down what I see.

Now she’s plunging her arms deep into the sea-chest of her memories: journals, spy-glasses, flasks, hair combs and pearls and even a piece of the cliff where she spent her youth, just a tiny-finned lass.

rose and camera

There’s more, much more, and I’d better get to it. For it’s cold up here in the tree house. The wind blows chilly out of the west this spring day, tumbling down blooms from the tulip poplar tree. Pam looks toward me, and though I am certain she cannot see my eye at the peephole, a wisp of cool breeze comes through the crack. It stirs her hair. Brings her a whiff of honeysuckle, out of season where she is. She can’t see me, but she knows I’m here. She starts to tell me her story.

I hunker down in my camp chair in the tree house and get to work.

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