Telling Tales from Treetops
by Mallary Tenore Tarpley
Me learning how to climb the tree in my front yard back in 1990. My dad’s standing by for support.
As a child, I used to climb the maple tree in my front yard and sit on the highest branch. With a notebook in hand and binoculars dangling around my neck, I wrote down what I heard and saw – ducks crossing the street, moms pushing strollers, sirens echoing in the distance. My neighbors, who called me Harriet the Spy, would fill me in whenever “breaking news” occurred:
“Mallary!” Mr. Graham would yell from across the street, “There have been a lot of cars speeding down the street lately. I wonder why that is.”
I made it my goal to find out why. I made observations, interviewed neighbors, and scribbled stories in my fluorescent-colored Lisa Frank notebooks. I still have these notebooks. They’re filled with license plate numbers, descriptions of passerby, and words like “suspicious.”
Not long ago, I read through one of these notebooks and felt compelled to buy a new copy of Harriet the Spy, just for fun. I have yet to read it, but I can imagine the experience will remind me of my childhood, and of my desire to look at life from treetops, where some of the best stories are told.