Jake's exact words were , "I can climb to the highest branch, I could touch the sky!"
He imagined his thin body stretching like an elastic band,reaching until his fingertips grazed the cloud dotted blue,bringing his digits to his face for examination and finally proving that the sky
was a mammoth blue and white, or red and orange, or blue and purple mural(depending on the time of day of course).
He wondered if he could bring his paints and add pterodactyls to the scene,ressurecting the ancient creatures.He sighed longingly and continued to nurture the ache in his chest that told him that the mysterious height of the tree's brances could assist him in transforming his flimsy tin foil fantasy into a sturdy steel reality.
Laura too thought of the oak,what secrets those leafy branches could hold.
Her exact words were, "A world could be hidden in all of those leaves.I bet there is a whole kingdom of orange people and green people and red people-like in the fall.A different shade for every season..."
Her sentence trailed off into admiring quietude.She knew,she absolutely knew that the leaf people glided from branch to branch,more delicate,more graceful,more gorgeous than a monarch butterfly.
She imagined how all winged insects were modes of transportation and how squirrels supplied the food and how when autumn and winter arrived ,the leaf fairies would turn completely invisible(since there were no leaves to conceal them) and would resort to living in the trunk to escape the chill.She was positive that if she could only climb to the uppermost branch that she would find them.She wondered if they would turn her into a leaf person and allow her to ride their dragonflies,like mini helicopters they seemed.She slurped in her breath and tilted her head back to view the vanishing limbs,the very top arms obscured by clouds,just a few fingers sprouting into space,wearing a few of Saturn's rings.
Jake and Laura simultaneously decided they would scale The Giant,as everyone in town kindly referred to it.Jake and Laura,both eight years- old and best friends for as far back as either's memory could reach went to Laura's house,they constructed a plan.
The plan was simple,they would use a latter to reach the lowest branch and free climb from there.That very afternoon they returned,equipped and ready.The two groped and climbed until breathless and took seats on a fat,sturdy branch.
A week later they built a treehouse.Jake stood on the roof attempting to scrape away a bit of the sky's paint,Laure hardly blinked hoping to capture a glimpse of of her leaf dwellers.
Of course they never scraped paint from the heavens or discovered a secret civilization,but they realized as the days and weeks,then months and years passed that the tree inspired them every moment of every day.Their other dreams flourished like the limbs of that tree.
Of course there was the day when they were thirteen that Laura had painted the ceiling of the little structure bright blue and surprised Jake.
"Your mural sky,and it's still wet-touch it,you'll have a piece of the sky."
He did,and sure enough his fingertips were stained blue,he laughed and surprised Laura the next day.He made doll sized people of leaves,constructing makeshift wings of construction paper.Laura soared them into the branches,they weren't as graceful as butterflies but they were her leaf people.
Then,as they sat at the base of that same tree at eighteen years of age (no longer trusting the branches that seemed much smaller with their almost adult bodies)they spoke of The Giant.
"I think that even though the tree has been silent all of these years it's been shouting something," Jake said.
"What's that?" Laura questioned.
"Reach for the sky,ya know,there aren't any limits.Like discovering gravity,Newton never woud've done that without his tree."
"Huh," Laura reclined in the moist crabgrass ,"the sky?Why stop there?Reach for the moon."
"Or the stars,"Jake suggested grinning,"trees,they're reason for inspiration."
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