By C. E. Pereira
MY earliest memory of the Raintree was one of awe. With branches that spread out like a huge canopy and the trunk that went on forever, it gave the illusion of reaching the sky. I used to imagine that if I could climb to the very top of that Raintree, then maybe I would be able to touch the sky and enter God’s kingdom. To be that kid again, the one that wasn’t afraid to dream of the impossible.
Being the youngest of three siblings and the only girl, I was alone most of the time if I didn’t play with my brothers. I had to keep myself amuse or die of boredom so having a colourful and vivid imagination was a life saver. Most of my childhood was losing myself in my imagination where pirates and cowboys were my world. But when my dreams took me to where things go bump-in-the-night, it was then that I wish I didn’t have such an imagination.
The Raintree was one of the few places where I had fun making dreams a reality. The Raintree had huge roots with little cave-like tunnels that ran haphazard around its trunk. It inspired dreams of pirates and treasures, of catacombs and hidden tunnels, of dragons and leprechauns, of Cowboys and Red Indians, of exploring and adventures, and many more, all just like those Enid Blyton story books.
I would sit and weave a tale in my mind of all the exciting adventures awaiting me at the Raintree. I was always the heroine in all my plays as I thought up the different characters and themes. So, if for a moment you would wish to travel back to your childhood again, then take my hand and follow me into the imaginative world of my mind where everything is possible, just think of it as my version of “Alice in Wonderland”.
I am the admiral of the ship “Iron Lady” that is setting sail for the unknown world to find the island where leprechauns dance on gold dust. The Raintree with its catacombs of root tunnels where sunlight cannot get in becomes the scene of a tropical storm on the high seas. Imagine lightning and thunder, imagine monster waves breaking against your ship trying to capsize it.
After what seems an eternity, the storm lets-up and my battered ship has lost half its mast, water and food ration are almost gone and land is still out of sight. The catacomb roots of the Raintree becomes more frightening as the end of the tunnel is still some distance away. Reaching the end of the tunnel I sigh with relief.
The roots of the Raintree is about six feet above the ground, quite high for a kid. I hoist myself out above the roots and my imagination takes me back to the ship, I see land. We have arrived at our destination, we drop anchor and wade towards land. I lead my crew inland searching for the riches and treasures of the leprechauns.
Balancing myself, I walk on the roots of this Raintree, looking down seems a very far way to drop. I am careful when I jump from one root to the next, searching for the hole between two large roots where the next scene is to be played.
My crew and I spot the entrance of a large cave. We enter cautiously and find ourselves in a cavern with stalagmites rising from the floor and stalactites hanging down like icicles from the roof of the cave. There is a hole in the roof of the cave where sunlight is seeping through and its rays hitting and bouncing off every inch of the cave walls. The whole cave is like a sparkling jewel, like golden stars twinkling in the night, making it the most beautiful breath-taking sight to behold. We have found the treasure of the leprechauns.
My mind begins to wander away from this adventure, searching for another exciting adventure to create. I again imagine the Raintree as the setting of the Wild West, of cowboys and Red Indians, bows and arrows, of heroes like Daniel Boone or Billy the Kid. But that’s another story. A gateway back to the Raintree – where childhood is remembered and dreams became a reality.
Copyright © 2003 C. E. Pereira