In the story The Caretaker of Imagination, there’s a treehouse in the enchanted forest which is home to a talking mouse and other wonderful creatures. It’s also one of John Carroll’s favourite places.
The treehouse is set in a giant oak tree because the primary school I went to used to have an oak that we’d play in. The lower branches – which were still much higher than ourselves – were for swinging and climbing. We’d collect the acorns and burnt-orange leaves in autumn, and sit in its shade in summer.
One year, they had to cut it down. The roots were affecting the drainage in the carpark, and I still sting a little when I see the stump where the tree once was.
Even earlier than that was a weeping willow, which was a place of enchantment and possibility and pure escapism. This was cut down long before the oak, and might have to make its own cameo in a future story.