My quiet place is high in a tree. I am hidden by purple maple leaves until they turn brown and fall off. Since the first time I climbed it, that tree has made space for me. Toward the top is a fork, split in three with the branches spread as a seat. I myself broke off a thin branch that cut into the spot; it became the perfect hanger. In that tree, I played pirates with Angie, star command with Paul Michael, and wild-child with Jenn. When everyone got called home to dinner, the tree would become my harbinger. I would get my back-pack filled with my favorit books, a sketch pad, and notebook, (maybe some stolen treat from the kitchen) -and decide what I wanted to do when I got there. I could spy on Phillip as he rode his bike down the street, listen in as Danielle and Debbie argued on whose cabbage-patch kid’s birthday it was. I could be an elf. I could write the history of the world. I could be me. Last year, I visited my parents house. It didn’t look right. My father had cut down all of the trees –including mine. I had hardly pulled up when the tears came. I parked, shut off the car, and let my parents take care of the children. I walked up to the stump, silently cursing my father, and sat there, thinking of the time a branch broke and I lost my breath; of games I created. I remembered freedom of invisibility beneath the cloak of leaves. I’ve had pleanty to be angry with my father for; and surprisingly have let it all melt into acceptance. I will not; however, ever forgive him for cutting down my childhood. For desintegrating my quiet place. For lying about his reasons. And for taking away my tree.