historical fiction author jessica james

Historical Fiction Author reminisces

A long time ago — back when I was a new historical fiction author — I had a blog called Life in the Past Lane. At the time, “the past” was the Civil War and the Revolutionary Wars, two periods that I love to write about.

But the other day, while sitting alone at the house where I grew up, ‘the past’ was a lot more recent. I sat under the towering Maple that my brothers and sister and I used to climb, and reminisced about, well…life.

That Old Tree…

I thought about all of the laughter and family gatherings that old tree has seen. How many thousands of its leaves have been raked up and jumped into?

It has always been a majestic — almost magical — tree, as far back as I can remember. In the spring, it literally bursts with its robe of green, and in the fall, when its leaves turn gold, it is a beautiful and brilliant example of the best of Mother Nature.

Just staring at the thick canopy that its branches form brought a smile to my face. I pictured a (much) younger version of me with a pile of Irish Setter puppies on my lap. Laughter and giggles, to be sure. Pure carefree happiness. Sunshine and smiles. Somehow it also brought to mind bologna sandwiches and root beer, skinned knees and stubbed toes. And it made me think of pet goats, and chickens and ducks, all of which provided company and comfort, and taught me about life and death. Love and loss.

It’s hard to believe so much time has passed since those days. Kids today don’t walk to the dairy for their milk — just for the fun it — or get to squish tar bubbles in the hot sun on the road with their toes. And most kids today don’t know what a treat it is to stop at the creek just to cool off, and maybe catch some crayfish for a few minutes — or hours.

Of course, much has changed since that time of innocence. Even the old tree is starting to age a bit. No one is sure when it was planted, but the house was owned by my grandparents, and the tree was tall enough for my father to be badly injured when he fell out of it as a child.

Life goes on, as they say. And these days, it seems to move at lightning speed, hardly giving a person time to catch their breath. I’m so glad I had that opportunity to just sit and dream again while the sun sparkled through the leaves of that old tree. If it could only talk, it would have an endless supply of stories of laughter and love.

Trees are great symbols of resilience and life. Strong and able to stand alone, but deeply rooted to hold them steady, just like family. Who would have dreamed that the little boy who fell out of the tree so many years ago, would now have great-grandchildren playing beneath it’s boughs?

And who knows? Someday they may have great-grandchildren sitting under the same canopy of green, thinking about the past — and the future.



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