Last week we had to say goodbye to a beloved friend, this friend was a tree. A tree at my son’s Kindergarten. In the past I was never one to get sentimental over trees, I even remember giving my poor work colleague grief when they cut down the Pine Tree on One Tree Hill in Auckland many years ago, she was tearful in her grief and back then when I was a young and free 20-year-old, I could not understand why.
However this week, the news that a tree was to be cut down at my son’s Kindergarten was heartbreaking. This tree was the centre tree in the forest, and among its branches, two swings hung, one an old school tire swing and they other a knotted rope swing. Alex and the other children would spend hours, upon hours playing here. I have photos and videos of Alex on both these swings, gaining confidence as he has grown and progressed over the past year. He would often lead me out into the forest to watch him run around in circles gaining speed and then jump onto the tyre, laughing hysterically, or he would leap off the bench near the rope swing – holding tightly onto the rope while saying “Did you see that mum”.
It’s funny how sometimes you just take for granted that something such as a tree will always be there, you don’t think that you will outgrow the tree, and if it did, you will see it wither and die before you which I guess makes the pending absence of it easier.
So last Thursday we said our goodbyes, I looked up into the lofty branches above and thanked our tree for its strong limbs that had held children on swings, for its shade that it had provided through hot Hawkes Bay summers, for beauty, comfort and stillness.
On our return to Kindy this week, there was conversations about the tree, how would we swing? Alex exclaimed he would just pretend to swing by jumping off the stump. This morning though the teachers had moved the wood rounds cut from the trunk into the new clearing into a circle. The children now discussed what they could do with the rounds, what would they become, launch pads for rockets, tables, a place for morning meetings and conversations. It was interesting to see how the new area had come alive even though their beloved swing had gone, and it just goes to show how children live in the present moment. Not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, just here, in the present. A lesson us adults could learn from.
*Photo – thanks to Kimberley Crisp.