By Beck

Last week’s post here was a doozy. And yes, it IS sad that our children’s childhoods are so fleeting from our perspective, that our pretty children do not stay. But it is also not sad. Children grow up like young plants, taking the knees out of their jeans and sprouting up out of their school shoes overnight but childhood itself is molasses-heavy, is decades long, is thick with slow time IF you are a child.

How long have you been my child? I ask my daughter.

Forever and ever, she says.

And I like that, that feeling she has of childhood being endless, being decades long. I remember being maybe 10 and gingerly walking across the gravel-covered Northern Ontario beach on a hot summer day, walking to my parent’s dusty blue truck and throwing my head back to look at the sunlight dripping through the heavy green leaves overhead, feeling golden and young and knowing that I would be a child forever and ever, that the rest of my life would be in that one moment, the sunlight falling all over me.

Being an adult is rather stark in contrast – I worry all the time and there are losses coming that are breaking my heart in anticipation and money is tight and I’m too old, now, to ever be l’enfant terrible of the Canadian literary scene. That child standing on the rocky beach on the edge of the bush is as gone now as if she’d never existed, and that God-drunk, golden feeling has been replaced by the heavy adult knowledge that I will be spared nothing, that any bad thing might happen. People get old, people lose their minds, people die – including, I know now, me. Any bad thing might happen, at any time.

Late at night, my youngest child frequently hauls herself into my bed. I wake up to elbows and tangled hair and her still-sweet breath in my face, her arm flung around my neck, whatever brief fear that propelled her through the dark house vanishing instantly as she instantly falls back into heavy sleep.

“Oh look,” my husband muttered, half-asleep. “We made a person and HERE SHE IS IN OUR BED.” Then he chuckled and turned over and fell back to sleep and meanwhile I was suddenly filled with sleepy golden happiness, with a middle-of-the-night joy that I knew would not last. There she was, her hands like tender leaves, this growing child sprung up from selfish, fragile human love.

Forever and ever, she says. When I was drawing up the family tree, I thought of all of those mothers, their black and white hands wrapped around their tender young children, this gentle thing in those frowning old pictures, those mothers who are now dust and names and how lucky I am to be now. Forever and ever, my heart says and the rest of my life could be this feeling. Look at them grow, like a forest of young trees, look at the golden light around them.

29 Responses to Trees
  1. Tristina
    February 25, 2010 | 11:56 am

    Wow…that was beautiful… I truly have no other words to describe the imagery in this other than absolutely beautiful.

  2. domestic extraordinaire
    February 25, 2010 | 11:57 am

    beautiful, simply beautiful.

  3. NewfieHun
    February 25, 2010 | 12:48 pm

    “that God-drunk, golden feeling” – love that image. Such soulful writing. Thank you.

  4. Jen
    February 25, 2010 | 1:21 pm


  5. christine
    February 25, 2010 | 1:27 pm

    i don’t know what to say. this was beautiful. teary, golden, sweet, and hard, but also beautiful.


  6. Nicole
    February 25, 2010 | 1:37 pm

    Lovely. xox

  7. Sue
    February 25, 2010 | 1:52 pm

    sob sob sob sob


    (Hint: That means I liked it.)

  8. Shelle-Blokthoughts
    February 25, 2010 | 1:58 pm

    That was so well written! It is true, for our children their childhood seems never ending! I hope I make them happy during that short eternity 🙂

  9. Janet
    February 25, 2010 | 2:06 pm

    Ah, Beck. So beautiful.

    Maybe instead of being l’enfant terrible, you could be the la femme magnifique.

  10. rimarama
    February 25, 2010 | 2:28 pm


  11. Jo
    February 25, 2010 | 3:29 pm

    I’m going to have to go with the ever original: LOVE THIS. Fantastic post. Really and truly loved it.

  12. Hannah
    February 25, 2010 | 4:24 pm

    Way to shake off that [imperceptible-to-us] malaise!

  13. Nowheymama
    February 25, 2010 | 4:36 pm

    Wow, Beck. Beautiful.

  14. heidiannie
    February 25, 2010 | 4:37 pm

    You are right to like this the mood and imagery is lyrical and sweetly nostalgic. You must be feeling better- this is not distracted by pain.
    Thanks for the treat.

  15. Kat
    February 25, 2010 | 5:41 pm

    That was just so beautiful. And so often I feel that way too.
    I catch myself all melancoly and sad thinking of how quickly my children are growing up, and then I also repremand myself for the same thought. I am lucky my children are growing healthy and strong, as they should, I’m sure so many wish their children would have gotten the chance. Ugh. That sounds so sad, but really I meant it to be a good reminder to me to cherish.

    And yes, I remember that feeling of my own childhood taking FOREVER. WHEN will I be 10??? How FAR away is my birthday??? Can’t I just be 12 NOW??? And on and on. 😉

    Beautiful post, Beck.

  16. Tammy
    February 25, 2010 | 5:59 pm

    OMG, that is sooooooo beautiful – and soooooooo moving Beck. Thanks for sharing your wonderful writing. You have said it all perfectly!

  17. Becky
    February 25, 2010 | 8:33 pm

    You should be pleased Beck. That was great! And I think all the time about how fast my adult life has gone by, in comparison to my youth. I don’t think I have any regrets. But there is a sense of loss that I will never have it back.

  18. carrien (she laughs at the days)
    February 25, 2010 | 9:06 pm

    This is lovely, and true.

    I have so few golden memories like that from childhood. There was so much sadness for a long time. I find myself with more golden moments now than ever before, much as I know they are fleeting. And they come in the same way, through my children.

  19. suburbancorrespondent
    February 25, 2010 | 9:53 pm

    So wonderful! And we say the exact same thing when our 4-year-old ends up in our bed (every night). Isn’t it amazing?

    I miss that feeling of time stretching luxuriously out forever and ever. I wonder if it returns a bit when we are old? Does life slow back down then?

  20. His Girl Amber
    February 26, 2010 | 2:18 am

    have often described you as a person who uses words like an artist’s brush. this totally embodies the reasons I believe that.


  21. edj
    February 26, 2010 | 7:52 am

    It’s so funny how much longer the first ten years takes compared to subsequent 10 years. So true. Another lovely lovely post Beck. Thanks.

  22. John Ross
    February 26, 2010 | 12:31 pm


    1. Thanks, that truely is a beyond excellent piece on several levels, as regard Feelings of time(and space) of youth and of grown-ups(parents in particular)

    2. Oh well, Hell – I have often thought similar, if not as eloquently put, thoughts on very much the same elements of life, thinking that SOME DAY they would have come together as something to write reeeeaaalyy well. but, now you’ve covered it so well, and so thoroughly, that there’s just not much point in my saying the same thing – only not as well. should have thought faster 🙂

  23. Omaha Mama
    February 26, 2010 | 9:18 pm

    Last week, your post made me feel brave and strong. Like someday we’ll be on an old people’s cruise together now, a bunch of us old lady bloggers together in big, bright hats. This week’s post makes me weepy, knowing how very true it is. I’ve been blessed and blessed lately, always knowing in the back of my mind that it cannot last. Wishing for forever and ever.
    This is one of my favorite of your posts. Well done you.

  24. magpie
    February 26, 2010 | 11:15 pm

    Yeah. Spot on, Beck.

  25. Minnesotamom
    February 26, 2010 | 11:34 pm

    Many times I have been in a moment like that and tried in vain to etch it into my own memory. “This, this I will remember forever,” I tell myself. And then it is gone, or at best, faded, like every other memory.

  26. PastormacsAnn
    February 27, 2010 | 2:43 am

    Wow Beck! So lovely. Wow.

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