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The Three Trees ©

Danny Reynolds
Dalton in Furness, England

(Between the ages of six and twelve,
if we each into our memories delve,
and wonder why we recall so clear,
while the focus seems blurred on our most recent year.

Is it easier to remember the formative years,
where youth and naivety, threw cloaks o'er our fears,
than pick through the remnants of yesterday's mail,
never setting new targets, in dread you might fail?

Whatever the reason, the truth is just this.
I've no way of foretelling, when I'll reminisce.
The triggers are many, the time spans are grey,
Though your senses could fool you. Did it happen today?)

If I'm quiet, and rested, I can fly back with ease.
To the first time we dared to climb 'The Three Trees'.

Down in the hidden valley,
beyond the secret lake.
Through nettles, midgies and sticky-buds,
the path we had to take.

We felt we were a Thousand miles,
from our grubby Council Estate,
in a foreign land, with exotic smells,
where you trusted your life to your mate.

At the far side of the crater,
where the slope came to its peak.
We beheld the dare, of which we'd been warned.
One which made the older boys weak.

Three twisted, gargantuan, ominous trunks,
Standing side, by side, by side.
The dare? Up the first, cross the tops, down the third.
Though legions had tried, failed and cried.

As none of our gang, had been here before,
our plan of attack came, from schoolyard folklore.
As the only known victor, was 'Big Malky White',
who left word, "You Must Start From The Tree On the Right!"

A minimum of two, were required for the test.
While two stayed on the ground, where they hoped for the best.
Bursting forth false Bravado, supporting through jest.
Though the outcome before them, they'd never have guessed.

At the foot of the First Tree, I vividly recall,
We couldn't reach the lowest branch. In shorts, we were too small!
So I climbed up on his shoulders, and he raised me to the limb.
Once there, I found a secure hold. Then I reached down for him.

From there we climbed with relative ease,
for around 20 feet or so,
where we saw our best chance to traverse the trees.
Where their branches criss-crossed, to and fro.

We gathered our nerve, as we looked o'er the gap,
we then shared what might be our last Chewitt.
Then we laughed, looking down,
as our friends on the ground,
shouted up, "Come back down. You can't do it!"

The branch we walked out on, was from the first tree.
While our hands grabbed support from the second.
As I passed the half-way point, I felt the branch sag.
I knew then, Fame or Infamy beckoned.

I sent my mate back, so the sagging decreased.
Then a few more steps nearer, I inched.
Raised my feet in the air, swung by hand here and there.
(If my Mum ever knew, I'd get lynched!)

The second to third tree, seemed easy to cross.
As if somehow I'd mastered the knack.
Thinking back, I thank God. I'd have been at a loss.
For I know I could not have gone back.

When my heroics were told in the playground,
The elder boys mocked me, and laughed.
For 'Big Malky White' never existed.
And all they, unlike me, were not daft!

Thirty years later, I ventured back.
Were they really as big as I thought?
The valley was a car park, the crater filled in,
And where the trees stood, there was nought.

But a few broken bones were made, copying me.
Valiant efforts to ape Chimpanzees.
If I'm quiet, and rested, I can fly back with ease.
To the first time we dared to climb 'The Three Trees'.

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