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  • "I have spent hours and hours figuring out how to climb the Guava tree in my grandfather's front yard"-From Milann's story.

    Staring up at the cathedral of branches sprouting from the oak,
    A maze of entangled pathways
    calling for me to climb up and explore
    each and every one,
    before settling down on the highest point and gazing over
    the world,
    Desperate to be seen and wowed over
    For accomplishing such heights,
    But also hoping to go unnoticed,
    To savor that moment, ruling over the world,
    where no one can reach me
    and ask me to climb down from the skies.

    But in the present, I was still on earth,
    musing over my first step
    up the trunk to the leafy perch in the tree tops.
    The cathedral started well above my head,
    the trunk was barren and slick,
    except for the bumps where former branches had died and fallen.

    I could do this.
    I had achieved great heights before,
    in hard situations.
    Perhaps in my previous life
    I was a creature of the heights,
    A squirrel, maybe,
    or a cat.
    But it was my body that failed me now.
    One foot on the fat roots,
    hands gripping the knobs in the trunk,
    I heaved up...
    ... and slipped down. It was heartbreaking to a young heart,
    to not be able to explore the secret kingdom at the top of that oak tree.

    Four tries were not enough to get me up the foot of the giant cathedral.
    This was a climb I would never have,
    I had no choice but to retreat.
    There would be a regretful hollowness inside me,
    for a week,
    an experience of peace among the branches
    snatched away from me.
    I would pass that oak tree and sigh,
    to not be able to pass it and nod to it like an old friend.
    But, as you learn early in life, you can't climb every tree.
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