Beneath the Tree

I’ve lived in the same house since I was six years old. As I was growing up and beginning to write, I was discovering the world at the same time, often through the same outlet. I’d find myself walking around my backyard, which is an acre of woodsy land, looking for inspiration. One day I came across a tree I hadn’t seen before; it was huge, with the perfect dip in the grass at the base of the trunk for me to lay a blanket down and stretch across with a notebook. That spot quickly became a safe haven for me, where I would escape to journal about my day or write to distract my mind.

I started out by writing cheesy love songs. I’d lean against the tree, staring up at the branches touching the sky, and write sappy songs about it. Eventually the songs turned into poems, and I needed more to write about than just leaves and the sky, so I started writing about my own life. However, even though I may have found new places to bring inspiration and experience into my writing from, a piece of that spot has always been present in my writing. I continued going out there, encouraging myself to write outside. Not only did the tree spark ideas within me, it was also a quiet place for me to find peace of mind, and relish in it. My home has always been pretty hectic, so that escape was something I really needed to get somewhere personal and intimate in my writing.

Even today, I think nature is extremely prevalent in my writing, whether I purposely implement it or not. I wrote a poem about the relationship between a mother and a daughter, and how deep their relationship truly went. Woven throughout the poem was a metaphor of the daughter being a plant that her mother, a gardening hand, was tending to; she was trying to prune her into perfection. Often, I read through a piece I’m working on and notice some form of symbolism or metaphor that I hadn’t even purposely used, but it makes the poem or story all the more powerful. That’s what amazes me about nature; it’s always there, it’s often ignored or taken for granted, but it always finds a way to weave itself into the deeper meaning of everything, to have purpose in writing, and in our lives.

Throughout my years in Creative Writing programs, I’ve often been asked if I have a favorite place to write, or thing to write about. Each time the question is posed, my tree is the first thing that comes to mind. It doesn’t matter if I’m writing about it or not, I’m still writing because of it. After ten years, it still manages to inspire me. Now, when I have a rough day, I still find myself walking to the end of my property with a blanket and a notebook, ready to sit down and wait for the inspiration to hit me. It almost always does.

Makinley Dozier, Website/Submissions Editor