Growing up in our postage stamp yard in Valley Stream, Long Island (NY) all I ever wanted was to have my own tree house. (Right from the start I knew I was a country girl at heart.) Sadly the only tree we had on our property wouldn’t have supported a modest doll house.
When I was 13 we moved to Poughkeepsie (rural in those days) and our new half-acre yard had no fewer than 96 trees! But again none of them were big enough to build a house in so I had to content myself visiting a friend’s one down the road. (Talk about your tree house envy!)
Years later, married and with two kids of my own, our family moved onto our 50 acre farm in South Australia. The first thing I did – before painting the living room, picking out curtains, or choosing the furniture – was to build a tree house. (For the kids of course, I told everyone. But we both know the truth.)
It’s a humble creation with bunk beds, shelves, a firemen’s pole for easy exit, and a basket on a pulley for hoisting food and things up to the window. I like to think my kids have fond memories of the many sleep-outs they had with friends up in that sky fort.
Now that they’re grown and left home however, the tree house has become one of several places I love to write. (Though I don’t often use the firemen’s pole!)
There’s something magical about being up in a tree, looking out over sweeping green fields dotted with sheep and massive eucalypts.
In spring a willy wagtail flits through the window to feed her chicks in the nest on the shelf. And every now and then a gecko pops its head out from behind a board to say hello. But that’s okay – I don’t mind sharing.
What about you? Do you have a special place you love to retreat to? To write or read or simply re-group when life gets too hectic?
If you’re a ‘creative’, do you find certain settings more conducive to working in than others? Places where your child’s imagination runs wild? If so, I'd love to hear about them.