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  • Andrew Casteel

Remember when maps

Updated: Sep 14


There's a tree on the trail to our son's school that the kids call the ticket tree. You're supposed to grab a leaf and stick it into a groove in the bark as you pass. None of the kids say why. None of them are worried what the tree will do if they don't give it a ticket. They just always stop and give a ticket.


I don't know where the tradition started, but all the kids do it. I often wonder how long it has been passed down from kids at Glenridge. It seems such a fragile tradition seeing as it's maintained by 3-5 year olds who spend at most 2 years together, but it remains.


Perhaps the urge to stick leaves in trees is universal and it has not been an unbroken chain of tradition but has spontaneously restarted throughout history. Like the trail itself, the stories of all the little features like the ticket tree, the gifting stump and the pine graveyard are etched into the hillside as well. Like cattle tracks that become trails that become roads, the story was part of the hillside. Before it was a park, before they built the trail, the tree was calling. It wanted tickets.

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