As I've said before, I'm not a photographer. I don't know anything about balance or lighting, and my camera (thank goodness) auto-focuses. I can take okay macro shots of my small crafty things, and I know how to adjust the white balance, but that's about it. But, also as I've said before, I'll never get any better if I don't practice. If you have any photography tips, please share them in the comments!
I felt a little weird taking pictures of other people's houses and yards, but as far as I know, no one saw me. If they did, they didn't run out of their house demanding to know what I was doing. Personally, I think I'd be flattered if someone liked my house or garden enough to take pictures of it, but you never know with some people. Anyway, onwards!
Father had it built it for my two older brothers, but it was I who made the greatest use of the treehouse. Henry and Edward had already finished with their tutors and started school by the time it was done, and during the summers when they were home, they had little use for the treehouse in the back garden. They were too busy taking trips to the sea with friends, and going to town with Father. But I was only nine the first summer we had it, and spent nearly every afternoon up amongst the great green leaves. Occasionally the boys would get there first and refuse me entry, and then I would wander the winding path that circled the property, reading as I went, or just thinking. But most days I lounged up there for hours.
Eventually the weather did grow colder, and Mother wouldn't allow me to bring blankets outside. I huddled in my coat and gloves a few times, turning the pages of my books with difficulty, but when the snow came, it was too cold and wet to bear. In the Spring, however, I returned to my loft with greater enthusiasm than before.
Some days it was a sultan's palace, and I was the queen, lounging amongst imaginary silk pillows and admiring the giant rubies and emeralds and sapphires on my fingers and wrists. Other days it was the far north, and I huddled in my igloo, mussing my hair (much to my mother's dismay) in order to better pretend I wore a fur hood like the Eskimos. More often, I was a lady locked in a tower, and I scanned the smooth greenness of the back yard for my knight in shining armor. There were a few fleeting weeks when I showed interest in learning how to weave like the Lady of Shallot, but Mother encouraged me to work on my embroidery instead, laughing that we could not possibly buy a loom. Sullenly, I brought my hoop and threads up the ladder in a basket, and pretended I wove a shuttle back and forth, painting the scenes below inch by inch, instead of making tight, tiny stitches that outlined flowers and birds.
That second summer, I began bringing pen and ink and paper there, too, and writing down my pretend adventures. I would return at supper time with inkstained fingers and wrinkled skirts from sitting Indian-style on the wooden planks, and Mother would ask why I couldn't apply myself to my French and arithmetic with such vigour. But as I was still young, she indulged my fantasies and let me alone.
My own daughter plays there now, though half the wood of the floor and rails is new, the old having rotted or broken over the many summers I had no time to visit my leafy getaway. There were too many teas and balls to attend once I was out, and friends to see and calls to make. I spent one summer in London with my widowed aunt, and after that I had my own home and garden to tend to. I've asked George more than once about building a treehouse in our own back garden, and have even pointed out suitable trees. But he doesn't see the point of it as we have no sons to make use of it. He thinks it is not appropriate for our Violet to be "climbing about like a savage."
But when Violet and I visit my Mother, I allow her to explore the entire garden, treehouse included. What George doesn't know won't hurt him, and it certainly won't hurt Violet. I kiss the scratches on her soft arms, and tell her of my own days in the treehouse. Her brown eyes are wide during my tales, as if she cannot imagine her mother in short frocks and loose curls, clambering up the planks nailed to the tree trunk and wriggling through the hole in the floor. But I tell her it's true, it's all true. Anything she wishes can be true, I tell her, if she wants it badly enough.