Thursday, April 4, 2013

Hide and Panic

This story seems an appropriate one to tell after yesterday's post about the TAMU Century Tree...

The root systems of many of the trees here in Texas differ significantly from the root systems of trees I'm used to seeing up north. (That sentence makes it sound like I pay a lot of attention to tree root systems in general, which is downright laughable. I can assure you that before I experienced the events I'll soon tell you about, I paid absolutely no attention to tree root systems.  And I can also assure you that after I finish writing this post I'll go back to paying absolutely no attention to tree root systems.)

I've noticed - thanks to this event - that a significant portion of some trees' roots grow above the ground, creating pockets of empty space above the ground but basically inside the tree. This is definitely the case for the trees at park/playground next to Will's elementary school.

Last week the kids and I were celebrating spring break by having a picnic and playing at the park. Will and I were discussing how long it would be before his buddy, Logan, arrived, and when I looked up from this surprisingly in-depth conversation, Hallie was gone.

Now this park is fenced in, but there are gates that even Hallie can open and the gated area is HUGE. I wasn't panicked - there aren't many places to hide at the park, and let's be honest, Hallie's not exactly a speed demon - but I told Will that we couldn't play anything else until we found her. Will and started walking around the park, calling her name. Five minutes passed, no Hallie. 10 minutes passed, no Hallie.  At that point I started to panic, and decided that I'd look for two more minutes before calling the police.

Thankfully, just then I walked past a tree and noticed the sunlight bouncing unnaturally off the trunk. I glanced down and saw Hallie, situated quite comfortably inside the root system of the tree.
 When I found her, Hallie was fully inside the root system and barely visible 
(her jacket was dark, like the bark of the tree, and her hair perfectly matched 
the color of the sunlight on the tree). In this photo she's on her way out and 
complaining because she knows there's a "talking to" coming.  
We then had a nice discussion about how 1) you can't play hide-and-seek unless the other players know they're playing, and 2) you MUST come when your mom calls for you in a panicked voice. And because I wasn't convinced I got through to her, I casually mentioned to Will - while Hallie was well within earshot - that I was glad Hallie hadn't been bitten by any ants while hiding in the tree. I think it's safe to say that we're never, ever, ever going to lose Hallie inside a tree's root system again.

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