The Giving Tree

A scary thunderstorm downed a tree and created unexpected treehouse fun for neighbourhood kids.

Saturday started off like any other Saturday – with T getting up earlier than my brain and body was ready for; playing dead no longer works.

After lunch, as I was about to head out for groceries, Environment Canada issued a severe weather alert to cell carriers in southern Ontario.

The sky looked fine, but since this was our first time receiving such an alert, we took it seriously.

Soon after the hubby moved the car in the garage, the sky turned dark.

We stood on our steps and looked at the eery calm sky. We heard a strange wind sound and wondered if this was the calm before a tornado.

T looked at cars outside and said that people should move them in or they won’t have cars after.

As winds picked up, T and I looked with worry at the tall oak tree in our backyard.

Suddenly, the hubby screamed that the tree in the house next door just fell.

T was both scared and excited. It was all our first time beholding such a sight.

The rain and wind died down. We went out to survey the damage.

As you can imagine, this was the coolest thing ever for T, a hands on geography lesson.

When the sun came out, we headed back out and T claimed the tree as his personal treehouse.

Kids teach us so much about making the best out of a bad situation – and the storm was bad indeed.

I stood on the sidewalk, watching him explore the treetop, imagining the adventures he was having inside his vast imaginary world.

Moments later, four kids joined him and it was the most precious joy to behold.

I thought about one of my favourite children’s books, “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein, the story of a tree that loved a boy unconditionally despite his often selfish actions.

I couldn’t help but think these increasingly severe weather we’ve never experienced before are a result of climate change; the consequences of harmful actions to the planet.

Yet the immediate outcome of the tree fatally falling down on our street was to provide an afternoon of joy and fun to children.

There was a beauty in that very moment about childhood innocence, unconditional love and living in the here and now.

28 thoughts on “The Giving Tree

  1. Beautiful and priceless Ab. T’s experience and fun curiosity with the Giving Tree after a bad weather brought me back to days of childhood when storms brought down our back giant mango trees. Yes, they become instant tree houses and places of wide imagination, and in time, a memorable part of our garden and landscape. T’s optimism and innocence is a breathe of fresh air and something many of us truly needs nowadays. Just reading the Uvalde school massacre in Texas which breaks my heart. Our children should feel safe and love in this World yet evil still happens sometimes. Thank you for a wonderful post my Friend. Always an awakening and joy to read your stories and share. Stay safe. Regards to your Family.

    1. Thank you! The Texas shooting really broke my heart as I read more and more about it – from the awful way the police handled it, to the agony and trauma experienced by the kids, to the husband who had a heart attack two days after his wife was killed. It’s so sad.

      On Thursday, a man in our city – close to our home – carrying a weapon was shot to death as people were worried a school shooting was about to happen. It ended up being an awful mistake – he was carrying a bee bee gun – but it nonetheless hit very close to home.

      The world needs to be safe for our kids. Kids should be having fun and climbing trees – mango ones too! – and having to worry about school shootings.

      Let’s hope for more light and joy in the world!

      1. Hoping for Light and Joy to the World as well. Yes, Adults should do their best to keep our Children safe. In America, it keeps happening because the multi factorial causes of the problem we’re never fixed and the safety measures by schools and police response has really never been genuinely corrected. Everything is bandaid during the peak of any tragedy and it’s emotions, then people become complacent and forget until another massacre happens. A society that entertains itself with violence, will sadly have violent events such as in Uvalde. Video Games,Social Media and Movies depicts shooting people as fun and cool, or a way to punish people for bad experiences like bullying. To be honest, the Government won’t do much to prevent another Uvalde shooting. The Powerful will have their way with guns and access, and Mental Health problems will continue to a non-priority. After several weeks, it’s back to Politics and the War. We can only hope and pray for our children safety and real reforms to endures their safety. Above Men, there’s God the Almighty.

      2. The gun lobby is very powerful and influential and so long as money and politics talks, sadly it is just bandaid solutions as you noted. 😞😔

        It seems the government in the US are more interested in banning books and education than things that actually kill children and people. How this priority got decided is just maddening!

      3. You are right. Lately there is this big deal of removing books and teachings that speaks of the truth of the evil of the past and the present. Racism, American Indian Genocide, LGBQT Discrimination and Oppression are important topics and truths the Government wants the young minds to be ignorant about just like they were ignorant during their forming years till today. It appears the U.S. Government and it’s Politicians wants to raise a generation who are apathetic to other Human beings unless it’s their own color, beliefs, religion, sexual orientation. What happened in Uvalde shooting is actually the fault of the Government and it’s Leaders. It’s the effect of insincerity and selfishness. Until our Government and it’s Leaders truly change and do what is needed, the cycle of mass shootings will continue.

      4. You nailed it. Very scary how policies are about limiting access to education and knowledge while continuing harmless policies such as access to guns. Until the leadership stance changes, it’s all just gonna be lip service sadly.

        On a brighter note, hope you enjoy your last day of rest and vacation! Good luck with heading back to work tomorrow.

  2. I was driving in Ellicottville when the storm hit – dark skies and torrential rain – and the lightning was relentless – there was a person on a motorcycle ahead of me – OMG! Quite the storm –
    Loved your reference to the giving tree!!!

    1. I’m glad you’re ok, Vickie. It was certainly quite scary. I can’t imagine how that motorcyclist fared!

  3. The storm on Saturday was pretty intense and it’s crazy how quickly it rolled in. We were actually a few minutes from our house when it started to rain. It was scary. We didn’t sustain any damage (or even lose power), but we saw and heard about some of the aftermath. That’s too bad about your neighbour’s tree. It is pretty amazing just how creative and imaginative kids are. Goes to show they can play and have fun with just about anything!

    1. Glad you’re ok, Linda and didn’t sustain any damage. It was quite scary. The sound of the wind was very eery. Never heard it like this before. I do think we’re gonna get more of this kind of extreme weather in the years to come as climate change gets worse.

      Thankfully today is much nicer. Enjoy your day off!

      1. It’s insane how much the temperature has been fluctuating this spring. And you’re right, these crazy storms are going to become the new normal. I’ll enjoy this nice weather while we can. Enjoy the rest of your long weekend!

    1. Thanks Diane. We have 3 tall trees in our backyard that we were eyeing nervously during the heavy winds. Mother Nature is not to be messed with!

  4. Oh my! I’m glad you received the warning and read it so that you had enough time to do what was needed. I had a blogging friend from Vancouver who passed away with her husband earlier this year when violent winds knocked down a tree that fell onto their house at night. It was really devastating.

    On a lighter note, it’s really heartening to see kids with their excitement and curiosity, isn’t it? Although there was one time when I was excited for the wrong reason. One time there was a heavy rain, so much so our house was almost flooded. Seeing the rising water level on the porch made me happy, because I just loved playing with water. Then my worried father scolded me. 😅

    1. I’m sorry for triggering the memory about your friend and her husband. The severe weather we’ve been getting is no laughing matter for sure. The death toll from Saturday is now at 9 people and some people are still without power. I think this extreme weather will get worse with climate change sadly.

      Flooding is very scary for sure but I can understand your reaction. Growing up in the Philippines, kids have the same reaction to heavy rain. We all rush to play in the deep puddles. 😆

    1. Thank you, Rebecca. Yes, it was a wonderful moment for T and the neighbourhood kids. Not wonderful for the tree, but that was beyond anyone’s control.

    1. It was pretty scary for about an hour. I’m glad that no one got hurt by the fallen tree and no damage either. But I know it was pretty bad elsewhere. 5 deaths so far. 😞 Hope it wasn’t too bad over in Sudbury!

  5. Love this! Your post has so many interesting threads – climate change, The Giving Tree (I love that book too), and the way to turn a scary situation into a positive. I love that T and the other kids were able to play in the tree and I’m sure it’s the calm you create that allow that spirit of exploration and imagination! Glad you all are okay!

    1. Thank you Wynne. We are very thankful no one got hurt and nothing got damaged. It was a pretty damaging storm across our province. 😞 And thankful for the fun it allowed for the kids on our street!

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