(255): Silent Companion of Childhood

A one line poem for Shirley Jimenez’ Chalkboard prompt “Trees”

Couldn’t find a picture of my old tree, so I picked one that reminded me of it. Image by Valerie Everett via Flickr. License.
As a child, I never thought about
How I withstood the Florida summers
In my bedroom with only a fan;
The overhanging shade of my companion outside
Softened the sun,
Cooled my feverish teen-aged thoughts,
And gave me a perch
On which to retreat to safety —
Gone now, the swelter is only broken
By a hard-working window unit
And regret at lost lives of the past.

Back story: I grew up in central Florida, and my teen years were spent in a house without central air conditioning. My bedroom did not have air conditioning at all, only a box fan. What made it endurable in the summers was a huge overhanging tree that shaded much of the end of the house where my bedroom was. I never knew how good I had it until I revisited the house years later. The tree had been cut down (it had died and was threatening to fall on the house), and what had been my bedroom was now cooled by a wall unit that had to run at full throttle and even then had trouble keeping the temperature tolerable. I am thankful in retrospect that the tree had been there for me when I needed it!

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