As a boy I lived on a small island on the North Atlantic Ocean. It was just off of the eastern coast of Canada and was called Prince Edward Island. In my mind it is the most beautiful place on earth, not only because of the stunning physical features but because of the accompanying nostalgic memories that flow with them.
At the age of seven I was inquisitive, energetic, and unruly. I had an incurable appetite for exploration, adventure and the unknown. Unfortunately my parents did not fully support me in this my passion, and my dreams of adventure and exploration were in jeopardy due to their tyrannical rule. To any reasonable person the boundaries they placed on me would be ridiculed. They placed proximity on my journeys, which was no more than one block from our residence. For this cause I had to take matters into my own hands.
One bright summer day I was in the act of exploration with my friends. We were atop our bicycles and were ready for anything that the world could throw at us. From previous reconnaissance we knew of a location of exploit, which in those days was commonly called “The Monkey Tree.” This was a place of mystery and wonder because we did not fully understand its origins. We presumed that a long time ago some big kids, perhaps teenagers, had taken wooden planks to this tree and created a tree fortress in the limbs, and wooden steps leading up the tree, the latter having deteriorated notably. As we circled the block we came to the off-road the led to The Monkey Tree. My friends, who had reasonable parents continued onto this road while I paused on the edge of the street in a dilemma. The choice was before me: my parents, or my friends; the circular block, or the winding path to the escape and adventure. This was my hour, my choice! I pedaled quickly to catch up to my friends.
Less than fifteen minutes later I was in my house, tears in my eyes, a yell in my throat as my father bent over and poured a clear burning liquid over my foot. Hastily thrown on the floor was a single shoe and sock, their partners remaining secured on my unscathed foot. Meanwhile my father continued to busily treat the laceration inflicted by a carelessly discarded nail. As he did so he practiced his rhetoric and scolded me.
“If you hadn’t left the block this never would have happened to you!”
But I knew better, it was a mere coincidence, it could have happened to anyone anywhere. This was but another attempt to douse my ambition and break my spirit. It did not work.
p.s. Since I have looked for monkey tree on Google Maps, street view. It no long is in existence.