A treehouse changes everything.
Byrd asked to stay in the treehouse on Monday night. Usually we don’t accept reservations on Mondays, but she seemed like she really needed some nurturing.
She had been taking care of her elderly mother, and when her mother died, Byrd felt deep grief. Taking time off from her job as an airport gate attendant, she had spent the last several days alone in her mother’s house, surrounded by her mother’s things. She hadn’t been out of the house or spoken with anyone in a week.
We thought it was time for her to come out of her shell.
Speaking of shells, when Byrd drove up, I pointed out the bright blue robin’s egg that somehow had been deposited on the path to the front door. Ants had eaten the yolk, but I hadn’t wanted to dispose of the egg, like a small gift by the steps. Byrd thought it was a good sign, since her real name is Robin. I thought so, too.
Before she settled into the treehouse for the night, we offered her a drink and some cheese and had a chat about her job, which she doesn’t like very much. She talked about her son—her only child—who is off at school, and how she feels very alone. We sympathized and told her that the acres of nature surrounding the treehouse might help her mood. I dearly hoped so, for her sake.
That night a cold front rolled in. The wind blew and rattled branches. Lightning struck close by, and thunder rumbled. Sometime after midnight I got up and looked out the window to see if Byrd was okay. The lights were out, so I assumed she was sleeping through the storm.
In the morning she came in for breakfast with a smile on her face. The storm had awakened her, but she liked the sounds of branches rattling and wind whistling. Before daybreak she had turned on a light and read, snuggled in the cot below the sleeping loft. Then she got up, determined to climb the scary vertical ladder to the loft. On the second attempt, she made it and giggled at her success. She and the treehouse had made friends.
Over breakfast Byrd told us that she once skated with the Ice Follies, traveling all over the world. She had a long love affair with a rock ‘n’ roll drummer and met lots of musicians while she was touring with the Ice Follies. Her face brightened as she recalled those days when she wore a long hippie skirt and a Mexican shirt, her hair dangling in braids. She offered to give me ice skating lessons next winter when she returns to the treehouse. I need the lessons, but I was more delighted that Byrd had enjoyed herself enough for another visit.
That’s the way it is in a treehouse. Nature, even when she’s agitated, has a way of smoothing out our wrinkles. If you’re sad or lonely or just overwhelmed, a night in a treehouse can make everything better.
Just ask Byrd.