‘The resting tree’ | Places of Identity

A personal essay written by Enumclaw Middle School student Sawyer Kleinberg

Editor’s note: Enumclaw Middle School students wrote essays about how places around the Plateau shaped their identity. Five essays have been selected to be published in the Courier-Herald in fifth-week editions; they have been minimally edited to retain the author’s voice. The previous two were published Nov. 30, 2022 and March 29, 2023. The next two will be published Aug. 30, and Nov. 29. This column originally ran in the May 31 edition, but was only put online on Sept. 11.

The wind sways through the trees as I sit on the hard tree root, I listen carefully, tree leaves rustling, a woodpecker knocking at an old oak, babbling creek rushing by.

These are all things I hear in this place I call “The Resting Tree.”

My heart rate has finally slowed from today’s events. I look behind me and I see Mount Rainier sitting in my backyard looking solemnly down on this town as if we the people are its students. Mount Peak stands in my front yard just beyond the light green fields, it stands in a way that looks like it is looking up at its father.The big flat maple leaves protect me from the beaming sun, there is a cool breeze washing over my body. A praying mantis crawls on my foot and tickles slightly as if grass just brushed my leg, but I don’t do anything. I don’t want to ruin this creature’s line of family by barely moving and crushing some part of its fragile body. I

take a deep breath and smell that fresh pine air, I try to move my fingers and realize I’ve got sap in between them. The wall of trees blocks me from seeing beyond but I notice that there are several of those trees that have the climbing of vines slowly choking the trees.

I think of what happened today and my heart rate picks up out of anger, but the look of the open field with yellow dandelions calms me quickly. Some are starting to turn into white puffballs. A flock of birds flies over my head and disappears into the thick woods, probably getting ready to head south for their winter homes.

I think about this place often, this place in my backyard. When I’m feeling anxious and alone. Right before I felt anger and despair, this wonderfully beautiful place sent my nerves and anger on a nice calm drive.

This place makes me feel at home. It lets me breathe and forget about all the worries in the world. Those worries don’t leave, they’re still there, but it makes me forget about them and just think about the wonders of this world. It makes me realize that I should just live in the moment and be grateful for what I’ve got.

This place lets every bit of the world sink into my skin, the bright cloudless sky, the tall pine and fir trees, and of course the towering root that I sit on now.

As I walk away and just think about what I have accomplished today, not physically but mentally.

I return to the place later. Not to get rid of anxiety or anger, but just to read a nice book. As I turn its soft and wrinkly pages, not paying too much attention, I think of how differently my life could’ve turned out.