I am writing a new social emotional learning curriculum for elementary students called “Songs of My Life for Children”. As part of it I am telling stories about emotional/social events in my life when I was young. I am finding it a very interesting exercise, one I would recommend. Here are two little stories/reflections for you.
I like to climb trees. I think I am pretty good at it. I usually climb by myself. I like the feel of the branches, looking up to see the next place to grab or put my foot. I feel strong holding on to the tree. From the top, you can see over into the neighbor’s yard, across the street, or even downtown. Often there is a nice breeze at the top. It’s such a great feeling.
When my family was up north, we always stayed at a cabin that had a bunch of young sugar maple trees, hundreds and hundreds of them. They grew straight up and were really close to each other. I would climb them, like a rope, hand over hand. When you get near the top, the trees, being thin, would begin to bend and if you climbed high enough, they would bend to the ground and you could just let go and the tree would snap back up. Alternatively, you could bend over to the next tree, grab it, and continue your journey across the top of the forest of little sugar maples. I would do this for hours all by myself.
My family had a pony when I was little. His name was Billy. He was cool. I remember, when we would ride him away from his little barn, he would walk slow and when we turned around to come back, he would go fast. I also remember feeding him apples. I always thought cause his mouth was so big, he would eat my whole hand off, but he never did, he just ate the apple. He really liked it when you rubbed him between his eyes and patted him on his neck. He would make those horse sounds that when humans make them, they sound dumb.
When I was in second grade, my older brother and I went out to the barn to feed Billy. He usually met us at the front door of the barn. He never missed or was late for a meal. But he wasn’t at the front door. We looked in the pasture and behind the chicken coop and finally we went back to the barn. We looked in the back room, where he almost never goes and found him lying on the floor. He could not get up. He just layed there. We ran to get mom, she came and said, “I think he’s dying.” We sat there and rubbed his nose and petted his back and neck and in about 45 minutes he layed his head down and stopped breathing. My brother and I didn’t really understand what death was, but we were very sad and in the days and weeks ahead we really missed Billy.