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  • Today was finally my day to visit Maya’s tree.
    I had my packed lunch, flask of tea, notebook and pen.
    I like to write under trees.
    Somehow being outside makes me feel fresh,
    and makes my stories feel more real.
    I walk through the park, admiring the shrubs, flowers, bees. Smiling at others that pass.

    The hot sunny day soaked into my sun tan lotioned skin.
    My well worn hat shading me from the bright sun.
    My sandals, skirt and strappy top the right outfit to breathe in the beautiful warmth of the day.

    I stopped. I looked up.
    This was Maya’s tree.
    The size made me awestruck.
    I thought I would creak my neck.
    The shade was glorious in contrast to the heat of the day.
    I walked around, smiling at the knots in the bark, until I finally settled into a comfy nook.
    I sat with my notepad and pen and thought
    what shall I write about?

    What if this was my story tree?
    If we cut it open to reveal the masses of rings what would they mean to me?
    Each one representing a different storyteller,
    all of them read by me,
    admired by me,
    connected to me.

    The outer ring is Kiki. Strong, solid.
    The mother, grandmother, creator of this writing circle.
    Inspiring, complex and colourful.
    I am jealous of the striking images she creates to match to her stories.
    I am sorry it has taken me so long to get here,
    to Maya’s tree,
    now my story tree,
    but I’m here now.
    Inspired by you, admiring others.

    The next ring is Stuart. Clear, concise.
    It’s nice to know,
    although leading very different lives,
    there are still people out there like me,
    in their thirties,
    with part of the themselves that will never grow up.
    Brought up in confined England, wanting to break free.
    Those for who the writing is a so much of as distraction that it becomes the goal.

    In the next ring is Diane, our eclectic storyteller.
    A ring that varies in size and shape as it completes it circle.
    I don’t think I have ever read such a varied body of work.
    Creative, memories, haiku, cooking.
    I think because of this variety there are things I connect with and things that I don’t.
    The memories grab me the most. I am there, in the past, an invisible passenger with Diane.
    An interesting life that should not be forgotten.
    The writing freezes and captures that moment in time.

    The next ring is distorted, crackling, breaking apart in places.
    A storyteller that leads an entirely different life to me
    but pulls me into his stories with his honesty,
    guttural at times.
    Although in life we are opposites,
    I don’t think our past or present lives have anything in common,
    I think our writing connects us.
    We both write about our lives, what we are doing here and now, hopefully, honestly.
    He inspires me to write more about the dark times. I will, one day, not yet.

    The last three rings are storytellers that reflect different ages of my life.
    The young, the adventurer, the current writer.
    Kat, Kristiina and Marina.

    Kat reminds me of the hope and promise I had after leaving Uni.
    A ring not yet complete, still growing.
    The stalling starts, the changes, the ‘have a go’ attitude.
    Reading her work always gives me time to reflect on old friends and youthful escapades.

    Kristiina reminds me of my time in Africa.
    A ring that varies in colour and structure as it circles.
    Whenever I read her pieces I am back in TY, the smell of Lesotho all around.
    It is that balance of loving the environment and sometimes,
    just sometimes,
    being bewildered by the culture.

    Marina is the mother that I now am.
    A ring that is structured and guided.
    Writing about those glimpses of life that just seem to grab us.
    I see her, camera in bag, just like me, waiting to be inspired by life through a child’s eyes.

    So I have my storytelling tree. Maya’s tree.

    Over time I will add to it, more rings with age, it is always nice to visit and reflect.

    I put back on my hat, stand up and walk away with notepad and pen in hand.
    Knowing I don’t have to be here, in person, to feel the strength of Maya’s tree.

    I ask you to ask yourself. What would Maya’s tree look like to you?

    I haven't asked any of you if it is ok to be included in my story, if you don’t want to be part of Maya’s tree just email me and I’ll amend the story.
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