Happiest In a Tree
Happiest In a Tree

Happiest In a Tree

a My Dunrovin Story, by Anna Rose Meeds

Fairyland woods at Dunrovin

Some of my first memories contain trees. I have been climbing them since I was under five. Sitting in the branches, waving at the adults below, feeling the wind sway me – I was rarely happier than in a tree. Until it came to getting down, that is.

When my family moved to Dunrovin Retreat Center, I was seven. After the short time we’d spent in the city, returning to nature was a wonderful gift. I splashed in the streams, coated myself in mud even in January, and ran barefoot most of the year.

Mostly, I continued befriending the trees. There were the Crab Apple trees with blossoms for spring bouquets and Silver Birches with golden leaves for autumn arrangements. I found ways to scale the tall Red Pines with fewer branches and spent hours in the Maples, watching animals and people below me. The Weeping Willows were probably my favorite, though, with their soft limbs and ample space for hiding from the world.

As a child, I ran through the woods. As I grew, my steps slowed but my love of the world surrounding me did not. I continued to take prayer time beneath the trees, dance to music down the paths, and write poems sitting amidst the leaves. I even began bringing my daily coffees from the Retreat Center out to the forest with me. The world of childhood and adulthood met at Dunrovin.  

As I’ve travelled away from Minnesota and Dunrovin, I keep looking for reminders of home. Parks, rivers, scurrying animals – anything alive and vibrant gives me a sense of nostalgia. However, trees continue to be a main sense of comfort. I frequently find myself smiling when I see them. There are pictures of trees in Florida, China, Hong Kong, England, and Ireland on my phone. Yet none of them are the trees of Dunrovin.

Many people and events inspired me at Dunrovin. All of them formed me into who I am now. The nature there, including the trees, is a part of my story. Perhaps silly, but one that will never leave me.

Anna Rose is a 2015 graduate of Northwestern Univeristy – St. Paul, where this picture was taken. She currently studies children’s literature at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.