Have you ever wanted to jump into a photograph or a painting? To step into that meadow by the lake, or be at the base of that mountain or on that sunlit beach a million miles away?
I remember a picture I had hanging on my wall in High School. I think I bought it with my own money one hot summer while perusing the Arts Festival that my beloved town holds every year.
It was a picture of a bright green hill, with even greener hills in the distance. The sky was a robin’s egg blue at the forefront and slowly faded to a stormy greyish-black in the distance. And on top of the green hill there sat a single tree, it’s trunk thick, and the wide branches bending under the weight of flickering leaves that created a small little shaded space. You couldn’t tell whether it was a sunny day and that the dark sky was making it’s way like a grumpy old man towards the tree, or perhaps that the grumpy old man had just past by and all that was left was the back of his long black coat as he left.
But either way, I always found myself longing to sit under that tree, in that small shaded space. And I never thought about what I’d do when I got there or what I’d think about or wonder, I just wanted to be there…all alone under that solitary tree and watch the world go round.
I still think about that picture every now and then and I sometimes wish that I could jump into it and sit beneath the tree without the sound of voices calling for me to settle a dispute, make dinner or breakfast or lunch or snack or dessert, or clean up throw up, or help make 50 some valentines, or wipe a nose.
But mostly, right now, I don’t think of the tree on the hill that much. Instead, I think of photographs that hang lopsided on my fridge, and I long to jump back inside and be there.
To be with an eighteen month old Ella Jane, standing on our old Cabin deck with too-big pink Hello Kitty boots on, thin short baby hair, and round pudgy cheeks.
To look out at the ocean with Gracie for the first time and see what she’s cupping in her hand and ask her why she wanted a big straw hat so bad that summer.
To push Noah in that cheap plastic red swing and watch him giggle a toothless grin.
To stand in the water again and wave back at Isaac as he floats down the cool Colorado river in a red inner tube and wonder again at how wide his smile can make my heart feel.
To hop back into the black and white picture booth on the Boardwalk with John and make silly faces and kiss behind the little red curtain.
To be with my sister and her family in front of the fireplace and mantel that I’ve never seen, and find out what Texas green leaves my nephew and nieces were standing in front of for their pictures.
To stand with my parents on the sandy shore of Ocean City and say thanks again for paying for us all to be there together cause I know it was a lot…thanks.
To be back with my closest and dearest friends in Redstone standing in front of that camper in Bruce and Connie’s backyard.
And I know a lot of this is just sensitive, emotional me…but I find that though I long sometimes for my tree on a hill, I would trade a thousand trees on a thousand hills to be back in one of those photographs again, even for just long enough to say “Cheese” once more.