Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Latham Family Adventures: The Chipmunk Tree

     Sometimes a name just sticks.  This was the case with a huge tree in our back yard. The first time the Little Lathams played on it, they pretended to be chipmunks. Thus the name: Chipmunk Tree.
     The Chipmunk Tree, I think, was an oak. It had a long straight trunk, five feet in diameter. Big, thick branches shot out in all directions, but none had leaves on them. You see, this beloved tree was lying on the ground, having been blown over in a long ago storm. The trunk was embedded in the dirt and seemed to belong right there where it fell. It’s final resting place. We didn’t even consider trying to move it or burn it or chop it up. It belonged to the land.
     The children loved that tree. It was big enough to hold all five of them and they spent hours climbing the branches and walking along the trunk balancing carefully.  It was no easy trick for the young chipmunks to navigate the rough surface of the tree. Sometimes they seemed more monkey than chipmunk! 

     Each of the children had a comfortable perch on which to sit and hold chipmunk conversations.  And they were often busy collecting little chipmunk treasures to hide in the nooks and crannies of the bark.Once or twice, I witnessed the younger chipmunks being a bit pesky as they sat on their perches throwing acorns at the others. 

     Through the years, the Chipmunk Tree served many roles. From  pirate ship to  picnic bench and everything in between. I was often reminded of Silverstein's Giving Tree as I watched the kids playing. For no matter what was  asked of the Chipmunk delivered!

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