I’m in the pistachio tree watching my mother walk away. Here to stay for two months with grandpa and grandma. In the little house in a field with trees and flowers and vegetables all around. There are lots and lots of pistachio trees for me to climb, and lots of pine trees in the forest on higher ground.
Up there is my fairyland with a swing hanging from the tallest tree, and a view of the sea in the distance. I can still, even now, smell the pine leaves on the wet ground, the earthiness of the land. I can hear the bells from the sheep grazing nearby, while staring at the dark damp soil underneath my feet.
The real action is inside my pistachio tree. The one on the edge of the field, the one that allows me to see everything without being seen. It is my castle and my ship, my joy. The challenge is to reach as high as possible.
It is lonely in there too. My grandpa takes care of the trees and the vegetables, and my grandma looks after the house and cooks our meals. I’m alone but I’m also free to climb, to hide, to fall and get up, to get hurt and get happy.
Sometimes I get off my tree in order to create mud pies adorned with beautiful plants. The flowers are offering their petals for my creations and my tree is always there to hide me. Especially if I damaged granny’s favourite flower, or rather the second favourite. The one she likes the most is protected by bees. It has big, red and orange petals shaped like a funnel, with yellow stems. Inside there is always, always bees. They are like an army of protectors guarding its beauty.
My grandmother only calls me over to eat. The best food ever! Eggs and sausages fried in a tiny old pan; so bumped it can hardly stand straight over the fire. But it cooks for me and only me. The white is so shiny and the yellow so bright. The warmth of the sun in my plate!
I eat, I play, I make my artwork and I make a mess and back again inside my pistachio tree. High up among the branches and the leaves, looking to see if my mother is coming back.
Oh, those childhood memories. ..
Those that give you the strength to carry on and try again after your failures, your downfalls, your unfortunate moments….
I remember everything, especially summer.
My father coming back from work, carrying a watermelon on his shoulder.
A familiar old man , selling fresh figs from a wide wicker basket.
Me and my sister counting the planes flying above us and the ships sailing across the sea, while watching those unforgettable summer sunsets.
The sweet taste of the mastic-flavoured sugar paste, dipped in a glass of cold water.
The amateur dance movements I rehearsed together with my summer friends.
The outdoor cinemas, where we watched our favourite movies under the stars.
I remember everything….
It is said that the past is compared to a chain, tied to your feet, limiting your movements.
In some cases, this might be true.
In others, it is simply the hand that pulls you up and sets you back on your feet.
What a reply! Your story is amazing! Such lovely images! Your writing is so good!
I am happy that your childhood feels to you like a hand that pulls you up. For me, it feels more like the chain you talked about.