Amongst the Leaves

This is some writing describing what happened yesterday – Mum and Dad made a rope bridge from one tree to the next on the large earthy place with a wide gravel path running round it which we call ‘the island’. What I will write is perfectly accurate, excepting that the sunset described was actually seen later as I was eating tea, not on the rope bridge. But I did see it start up there, and have blended the two parts of sunset together to help along the story. Also, the tree is not quite as leafy as it appears to be in the first few sentence.

From amongst the dark foliage, a red hardcover book, clearly old, and with thin pages, drops down and lands with a thud and a little flurry of soil upon the springy turf. It is quickly followed by a foot, clothed in a high brown boot in the style which was worn in the victorian period, and laced all the way up, which sets itself upon a rough nub in the bark. Another foot and the bottom of a pink cotton skirt, patterned with lily-of-the-valley, red daises and other flowers, soon emerge.


Then, the whole figure jumps lightly down with the help of a rope-ladder and the rough bark which has in it many footholds. She is clothed in a dress the bottom of which has been already described, and also an olive green cord jacket with a modest frill along the line of buttons, and a little motif that matched her skirts upon the right arm. Her hair is chin-length, glossy and dark, and somewhat wild after her long repose in the tree. She picks up the red book, and skips merrily away toward the house that stands nearby. 

She is gone; let us approach and view the spot that she had left. Around eight feet from the ground – nine in some places – a bridge of ropes hung across two forking evergreens. It was simply constructed, with two ropes for hand rails, and two more below, lashed together with another rope which also made some large triangles along the sides, forming sort of walls.  


On one side of the first tree hung a rope ladder – on the other a knotted rope, and some little wooden steps which had clearly also played a part in the accent were lying about, half fallen over, at the foot of the tree.

It had been Mother’s idea – and once thought of it was soon carried out – as soon, that is, as was possible in a house inhabited by two young boys. The convenient forks in the trees made it an easy task to preform, and soon, the little girl whom we just saw, had ascended up by means of the knotted rope. 

It was lovely – truly lovely – to sit upon the swaying ropes, feeling the at some moments awful, but in all incredible, feeling of being there, actually in the air so far above the heads of the adults who waited, looking up, at the bottom of the trees. After looking her fill at the ground and the faces below, she glanced upward then, and there was a certain shock in doing so. A moment ago she had been triumphantly looking down, thinking how wonderful it was she that was up there, where only birds had been destined to go; now, she was reminded by the dizzying stretch of branches above, of how small and insignificant she yet remained compared with these great things of nature – that however wonderful a thing you might think you had done, Gia had endless wonders and great things still left to humble you with. 


The many trunks shooting upwards made the same mighty and serene impression  upon you as the great pillars of temple might, and the layers of branches all fanned out from the trunk like a peacock’s tail. The evening sun shone upon the bark of the trees, which was painted green with lichen, and made patterns with shade and light upon the ground far below.

As she rocked there, upon the ropes, the evening drew on, closer, and softly, night dropped a grey veil over the sunny garden. In the west, streaks of soft Tiepolo pink floated across the soft blue sky like veils, till the whole sky was streaked with pink, blue, and in some places even a little yellowish green. The ‘blue isles of heaven’ were a burst of gentle colour, and in what, had the sky been a dome, would have been the highest point, was a graceful, fragile moon, looking down with a serene grace upon the world, and upon that little girl, perched there among the trees. No doubt it favoured her – for the moon’s personification was Artemis – and she favours all climbers, all who value nature, especially trees. 

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10 thoughts on “Amongst the Leaves

  1. Dear Ide,
    Would you like to meet up sometime at yours?
    I love your bridge and I would like to see it. And possibly walk it.
    Happy Easter!!!!
    Yours sincerely Poppy Riley

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