Summer Tastes Like Cherries This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

February 6, 2010
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Every good thing in life has to come to an end, but when we are little and curious and growing up, many of us fail to know this. Every time I peered up through the leaves to glimpse the sky, I never saw the end of the cherry tree in our backyard. It was eternal, holding up the sky and tickling the clouds with its branches. The blue of the universe ran through it like a river, and the hours I spent in its boughs left me in a timeless space, where I could be a child, leaving the grown-up world on the ground. Like most children, I felt that life would always be this way; I failed to remember that things like summer and daylight and the hours spent reading and watching the world go by in that cherry tree would end. I, of course, knew that buildings crumble but leaves and grass are eternal, and my naive nature left me certain that this tree would be forever.

We always boasted that it was the biggest cherry tree in Placer County, and made a big deal about trimming the branches at the end of each season, to be sure that it would bear its sweet fruit for another year. Sometimes my mother and I would go out in the morning as the sun was rising, and eat cherry after cherry for breakfast. The bluebirds ate too, but we never shooed them away; there was always more than we could eat.

The first branch was beyond my grasp, but I was always able to reach it somehow and scrape my bare feet trying to reach the top branch. My tiny arms never fully made their way around the trunk – it was so stout, and the tree had no one path to climb – but it was a maze that I spent my days exploring. It was my jungle, where the wild things were, and the more my dad told me that it was dangerous, the more I wanted to touch the top branch. The adventurer in me never shied away from getting dirty and staining my clothes and scarring my knees.

I never physically saw this tree get bigger. It was simply old and wise and would be there forever. Rather than grow with me, the tree helped me grow. On long summer days, we would play tag in the backyard, running circles around it, using it as a protector. We made a mess in the kitchen trying to make lemonade, and floating bright red cherries on top to make it taste more like summer.

I never got to see the top. After a while, I moved on from climbing its branches, and focused on more ­important things. It died when I was becoming a teen­ager, and I had to watch the branches come down, one by one. We planted a new cherry tree in its spot, using the seeds of the old friend that was there when we first moved in, and a part of our lives for so long. Nature always tends to act in the simplest way, giving and taking, and then giving again.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 8 comments. Post your own now!

penandpapermake'emlisten said...
Nov. 10, 2016 at 12:43 am
It made me nostalgic. We only have our childhood for so long and before you know it you're "an adult" I say "adult" because being eighteen doesn't magically make you mature or know how to do your taxes. It's more a process then anything. The ending seemed a symbol of the circle of life.
KatieSpeaks said...
Apr. 11, 2011 at 10:50 am
I really like it <3
bubj98 said...
Nov. 11, 2010 at 1:26 pm
summer really does taste like cherries.this story describes how we all want to be kids
Annalibelle said...
Aug. 19, 2010 at 8:59 pm
The idea of the chery tree as a symbol of your childhood is excellent and very original. The voice is strong, but some times the flow is off, because of run on sentences. For example,put a comma in the first sentence, and a reader will be able to understand it better. The long sentences give a feeling of being rushed as well. Slow down and strech some of the things out. How did you feel when the tree died? Overall, a fine descriptive piece.
nothingisaword said...
Aug. 12, 2010 at 11:12 am
That was perfect. Wow. I love the details and the story :D
writerali said...
Jul. 17, 2010 at 1:25 pm
I love the descriptions and your voice is very strong and beautiful. This is the kind of writing that we need more of.
still-a-novice said...
May 31, 2010 at 2:03 pm

This is really good. I felt like I was there and saw the cherry tree. I think that you should add a little bit about how the charactor felt when the tree was cut down. But otherwise, that was really great!


Maranatha said...
Feb. 19, 2010 at 5:56 pm
The description you use is really rich. Nice job!
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