I am 12 years old again. We are playing a game my mom called One Eyed Cat, my younger brother and sister called , boys against girls. We have a wiffle ball and a plastic bat. There are two bases, home , a stump in the middle of the yard, and first base, one of the 6 poplar trees that lined the front walk. Dad pitches for the boys team, mom pitches for the girls team. If we got a hit, we to run to the tree, tag it, and back to the stump before the other team could tag, or cross us out. We played this often after dinner in the summers, until the bats came out. Sometimes the bats chased the ball, this bothered my little sister so, game over.
These trees trigger the time machine more than anything else for me. The tangy smell of their sap, the leaves emerging, the fissures in their bark.
There are four cotton wood trees in the park where I walk. They are cousins to the poplar tree, with many of the same characteristics. Once a week I make sure my route passes by the cotton woods so I can see them, smell them, take a ride in the time machine.