Peava Swinging Tree and Thumb Woes
This place has the most awesome tree we’ve ever seen. Its sturdy branches reach out over the water and offer some great spots for rope swinging and cannonballs! It is the perfect playground - and it even has shade! Over and over Michael climbs along the trunk and thick branches to dare himself to leap again. Eventually, he even tries a front flip off one of the outer jumping spots! Belly flops and face plants can’t deter him - he’s a boy with adrenaline streaming through his veins!
The tree is alive with action. Kids climb to the tallest branches, calling out from way above my head and I squint in the sunlight to spot them among the highest leaves. Then, in an instant, they’re falling through the air and SPLASH! they disappear underwater. When they emerge, we cheer, and up they go again for their next daring feat. Some of the kids are real showmen, waiting patiently for everyone’s full attention before they jump.
I’m happy to watch until one girl slyly asks if I want to swing. Heights are not my thing, but I do wonder how it feels to swing out over the water and let go. Michael is hooked, and his exclamation of ‘you feel the air swirling around you!’ is enough to push me past my fear and try it. I trepidatiously teeter out on the branch, all the while grasping for handholds. When the tree offers no other options, I lean down and crawl along the branch to the jumping spot. Someone below slings the rope to me and I swipe my arm through the air to catch it, but I miss. A few more tries, and I finally grab hold. I reach up to the highest knot and place a lower knot between the toes on one foot, as I’d seen some of the kids do. The branch is higher than it appeared to be from below, and I have this nagging thought that I’m just too old for this. A vision of me hobbling around for the next few days nearly sends me scampering back down the trunk. Should I? Elizabeth, Mark, and Michael urge me on from the water.
The local kids wait. Will she?
I hold tight and go for it. The air surely does swirl around me, like Michael described, but that’s all I really remember. I might have closed my eyes, for all I know! I try to time my release and jump feet first to avoid any back or belly flopping and then SPLASH!
Too old to jump? Ha.
But once is enough. I think I’ll just leave the Tarzan swinging to the kids…
The following afternoon, Mark and the kids go back for more leaping fun and this time E gets brave enough to give it a go. But once was enough for her, too, so she became the official rope slinger instead of the swinger. Little did we know, that would be the last swinging time for Michael.
It was Friday and we were prepping for our Family Night dinner. Michael’s job was to grate cheese, and he wanted to try using the new mandolin I’d brought from the states. Once the cheese was finished, he asked if he could try to slice a carrot. Well, you guessed it - he ended up slicing off a hunk of his thumb. Even as I type it, I get the eeby-jeebies. Mark was on shore installing a solar panel, so that left me to be the ER nurse. I do not do blood. I repeat: I do not do blood.
Somehow I manage to stay conscious as I hold his thumb under the faucet and press a paper towel on it. I holler at Elizabeth to gather the necessary first aid items - gauze, bandaids, tape, neosporin - and with her help I get it all bandaged up. Michael, meanwhile, is moaning and groaning and sweating like crazy along with me. “Am I gonna die?” he asks. It seems he’s inherited my knack for visualizing the worst at the sight of blood. When I see that he’s losing color, I sit him down and hold his hand above his head so that he can’t see the blood anymore. Thankfully, E had grabbed a bright pink washcloth that didn’t show any sign of the red stuff!
And in an immediate answer to my stream of desperate prayers, Mark walks in. Elizabeth and I give him the rundown of what happened and what we did. He assures me that I’ve done exactly what I should have and as we stand next to Michael discussing the details, Mark notices that he has slumped down onto the couch. I see his eyes roll back in his head as he convulses, and I start smacking his cheeks and instantly become a hysterical mama. Mark calmly says, “Michael, stay with us, okay buddy?” while I do whatever I can to wake him from his sweaty slumber.
“What happened?” he dreamily asks as he comes to once again. I breathe a deep sigh of relief and plop down beside him, tingling with adrenaline. The idea of what’s hidden under the bandaging keeps creeping into my mind, and I realize I have to distract us. Elizabeth sets up an audiobook, and suggests we go out on deck in the fresh air to listen.
Its just what we all need, and the tension of the moment eases. Our minds struggle to shift focus, and gradually, we relax into the comfort of a good story. Looks like Michael will survive, but he won’t be swinging from any trees for a while.
Kids playing ‘long ball’ and keeping score by tearing off a fern leaf each time someone gets a point.
|Playtime in a beached canoe|
|Kids learning to play bocce ball with us|
|Opening and sharing some local nuts for an afternoon snack, beachside|