There is nothing more glorious in times like these, than when your kids disappear out of earshot for hours on end because they are fully engrossed in some secret activity. We had a lot of this during the holidays. There were four families with at least 12 kids between us. Every now and then a parent would go, "Has anyone seen the kids?" and then depending on the parenting style (helicopter versus hey we're on holiday), either go and look for them, or leave it at that - a dangling question, a mystery as to where oh where they could possibly be.
Most of the time, they were down the hill, through the tall grasses, over the boulders and into a hidden little nook, to hang in the "tree house". I use speech marks here, as technically it was just a tree with a few planks of wood nailed in and a ropes slung around it. There was no roof, no walls and there was certainly no raised platform. Did the kids care? Did it make it any less exciting? As if. And then it went a bit Eureka in my head. You don't need a house to have yourself a tree house. You just need a kid.
Here's my 3 take-away tree house wisdoms:
- Today is the day. You don't need to wait for the perfect tree, the perfect garden or the perfect DIY person to come into your life to have yourself a tree house.
- House. Shmouse. You don't actually need a house in that tree. All you need is some random planks of wood, some leftover rope and a few rusty nails and a kid with some imagination.
- Distance = Result. The further away the "tree house" is from where you are, the more likely the kids will go there and hang.
The children's author Shel Silverstein sums it up in his brilliant poem 'Tree House', published in Where the Sidewalk Ends.
A tree house, a free house,
A secret you and me house,
A high up in the leafy branches
Cozy as can be house.
A street house, a neat house,
Be sure to wipe your feet house
Is not my kind of house at all-
Let's go live in a tree house.”
Top quote: "The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself." William Blake.