Under This Tree

Under this tree, beneath the tall and extended branches, so very thick with leaves, I stand here alone.

I am hidden from the sun, and I melt away into the shadows cast over me.

Sometimes I can feel the other children looking at me.  I can hear them whispering.

Under this tree, I turn away from them.  I run my fingers down the deep grooves of the bark, slowly and intently.  I tiptoe in circles, balancing myself on top of the outstretched roots that rise in and out of the soil. I wrap my arms around the thick, coarse trunk, but my hands don’t even meet halfway.

Under this tree, time passes ever so slowly. Day after day, the other children run past me, laughing and shrieking, exploring parts of the playground which I’ve never even been to.

Days go by, and every day the air grows a bit colder.  And when the leaves begin to change from a rich green to the shades of the autumn rainbow, I am relieved.

Days go by, and the thick ice atop the branches weighs them ever so slightly closer to earth.  I can no longer find the roots to dance on as they are hidden beneath crunchy snow.

I am so very cold.

Days go by. Finally, the sun returns, and I welcome the warmth on my face.

I am relieved.

I wonder now why the other children still have not found me.

Have they been looking for me, wanting me to join in their games? But how could they see me underneath this tree?

For a moment, I think about calling out.  I imagine myself waving, seeking their attention.  I want to play, I think.

But instead, I turn away.

When the school year comes to an end, and my days on this playground are over, I am relieved.

Because under this tree –  my protector, my only friend – I have survived.

Written from the perspective of a child who is lonely, bullied, or different.  May it serve as a reminder for us and our children to pay attention to those around us, say hello, and include others.  Our simple display of kindness can impact the life of another in a very big way.

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30 thoughts on “Under This Tree

    • I know, very sad. Bullying by exclusion, I believe… Thank you for reading and commenting. I have fallen behind in reading up on my favorite writer’s posts (you:), but looking forward to catching up:)

  1. I have spent so much time under the tree …sometimes climbing and hiding in its branches ,…with a book …but without turning a single page ! just day dreaming..! yes it gave me so much comfort…& yes “i have survived ”
    thanks for sharing
    sriram

    • That is wonderful! I just worry so much about these children who seem to be ignored and forgotten. I teach my own children to seek out those students who appear to have no one to play with. Perhaps some of them are perfectly happy to be alone with their tree, like you experienced, but most I have seen just look so truly sad. I can sense their pain, and I feel that many children are bullied silently, simply by being excluded. Thank you so very much for reading and taking the time to comment. Means a lot! 🙂

  2. So so beautiful. And sad too. I love that the tree provides that comfort and disguise. In a way too, I always feel an element of relief when a child will carry on hugging a tree (for example) despite whatever anyone around them thinks. It is just so sad that this is a result of, or will end up in, bullying. You write so beautifully. Big love. X

    • Aw, once again – you are just so supportive of me! I apologize for not being a very good follower these days. This is a busy time of year for me, but I am looking forward to tonight because I have time to read! Yes, this is something I see often while I’m at work in my school, as well as when I was in school. I’ve always been intrigued by it. Thanks for reading and for making me feel loved! :))

    • Awww, thank you:) I am sorry you went through such a hard time! School wasn’t always easy for me either, but I wrote this from my perspective as a school employee. It is something I see too frequently, and it saddens me. I always encourage all the kids to play together, but it is not always a success. Thanks so much for taking the time to read AND comment! 🙂

  3. You have such a beautiful soul, and I truly feel sad for those children who have to spend recess alone. I can’t imagine ever going back to those days again. You wrote this so eloquently that I just pray these children find solace and friends they can enjoy and play with.

    • Thank you so much! What more can I say to you for all your support? It is a very sad sight. I understand some are just shy or don’t feel they fit in. What hurts to see is no one reaching out to them.

  4. Marilyn, thank you:) It really is very interesting to me how these children gravitate towards the trees for shelter, to be hidden, to have a friend… Interesting, but sad. Thank you for reading:)

    • Aw, that is so nice. Really! I loved my trees as a child, and still do! I was actually writing that from the perspective of the children I see at recess every day while I am at work. I often wonder how they are feeling. Thank you for your kind words and taking the time to read and comment – much appreciated!!

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