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I am a children's writer from the Virgin Islands. Growing up there was like living inside a history book; an imagination stimulator. Consequently I've been writing for just about forever. I am a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature and a member of SCBWI.

Blog Schedule

I post on Monday and Thursday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Up a Tree

Trees have figured prominently in my life.

This is the earliest picture of me taken by one. I'm standing in front of a small genip tree, circa 1956 Cruz Bay, St. John. Even though I’m wearing a little dress, the sash isn't tied and I am barefoot. It's a portent of things to come

The genip, (with a hard g) bears small round fruit between the size of a nickel and a quarter. It grows in bunches something like grapes. The fruit is covered by a leathery green skin which surrounds pinkish flesh. The pinkish flesh surrounds a large seed. The fruit is tart/sweet and ripens right around the time school begins and was always a favorite among the kids. Like spitting watermelon seeds, there were contests to see who could spit their genip skins the farthest.







It's faded, but I'm there, like a chameleon. This picture, taken around 1958, shows me in my favorite genip tree that grew by the house we lived in at Caneel Bay. 

The way my left hand is casually resting on the trunk of the tree, it looks like I’m standing in a doorway or next to a pillar.

I wasn't using the trunk to support myself, or to keep my balance on the branch. I simply had my hand on it like someone resting a hand on a doorjamb. I was totally unafraid of heights. (Not so any more.)

I loved that tree. I knew exactly where my hands and feet had to go to get me to my favorite branch.

My mother couldn't keep me out it, or any other climbable tree. She used to tell me, kidding of course, "You fall out of that tree and break your arm, I'll break the other one."

I never fell out of a tree and never broke bone. Well, I did break a small wrist bone, but I was in my early 30s and it happened roller skating.


Here I am at about 11 or 12 trying to climb a coconut palm. I was never successful getting more than a few feet up. There is a way to shimmy up them, but the technique eluded me.

I was a senior in high school when this picture was taken for the yearbook. The tree is a mango. I was wearing a ratty pair of jeans and an old blue denim shirt. I was NOT a prom queen/cheerleader type of girl. The Hat has a story all it's own which I blogged about HERE.

And it doesn't end there. My sweetie and I were married under a cedar elm.

We visited it on our 20th anniversary. All of us were still alive and well.
Were you a tree climber? Do you have a special tree memory? Did you ever have a tree house? Ever fallout of a tree?

13 comments:

Manzanita said...

What great trees!!!! You were a tree climber. No wonder your mother worried. Ha Love your wedding and anniversary pictures. The perfect kiss.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's cool you returned to that tree twenty years later. And I have never heard of the genip before.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bish .. love the fact you returned to your tree 20 years on .. congratulations .. love the photo and that bottle!!

I used to climb a silver birch and sway in the wind .. loved it up there ..

Cheers Hilary

Christina Farley said...

That is just an amazing picture with both of you on your wedding day and now. I love it! So special and what a neat way to remember your lives.

C. Lee McKenzie said...

Ahhhh. I'm truly touched by this post, Bish! Wonderful and perfect in many ways.

I've fallen out of tress, I've climbed trees, I've fought to save trees from loggers. They are special to me as well.

Liza said...

One of my best friends fell out of our tree house and broke both her wrists. That was the end of that tree house...

nutschell said...

wow! Great pictures! I've never heard of a genip before!
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Kelly Polark said...

What fabulous photos, Bish! Love seeing all of the different stages of your life by the trees.

I love trees, too. We bought our current home because it is surrounded by woods on two sides. My favorite time of year is when the buds pop with bright green in the spring. My living room has a fall leaves d├ęcor. And my maiden name is Maple. :)

farawayeyes said...

Missing the island a bit today. Thanks for the memories. I love them genips.

Medeia Sharif said...

I love this post. I have a special tree that was outside my childhood home. The windows faced a courtyard and there was a beautiful tree with pink flowers.

mshatch said...

I was a tree climber! We had a great tree at the end of the driveway that was perfect for climbing.

I love trees.

Marcia said...

A tree climber??? I couldn't climb a tree, the monkey bars, a rope, nothing. My husband was the one who fell out of a tree and broke his arm.

Jan Newman said...

I was a tree climber, but not an adventurous one. My favorite was a china berry tree that grew out back of the pump shed. In spring it put on a mass of beautiful, delicate pink flowers that smelled heavenly, a little like lilac. I never fell out of a tree, but I was hanging with my hands off a rope that broke. I fell forward and knocked my breath out. I've been very lucky never to fall from a tree or off a bike or a horse -- so far.