Apr 21, 2013

Kojan/The Treehouse

Bang bang! Those familiar sounds of spring!

It started in middle school. Trouble & Trouble and their friends from the villages around here picked up some left over planks and nails and built a platform way up in the trees. Then walls came up of course, a roof, and hey, Kojan – the Treehouse was born! Koja means hideaway, kind of, and it really was the perfect hide away for boys in their early teens. It’s located in a grove not too far from the house, but enough tucked away for privacy. The parents kept in the house or the front yard leaving them to their adventures, but also made them feel safe.

My sons have a wonderful talent. They make friends with the sweetest, most adventurous and craziest people. And they stay friends. Through thick and thin. So the original group of about ten loud boys is still around. And as they moved on and new friends entered their lives they’ve been added in the Koja project. As they have added trees! What to start with was a studio connecting four-five trees is today more of a complex compound 15 feet above ground involving about thirty firs and pine trees!

You might be asking: how old are they now? Well, that’s a legitimate question. Trouble & Trouble just turned 27 and 25. The next question might be: aren’t they too old for building on a treehouse? The answer is no.

My sons have this ability that earlier on to a mother could be pretty annoying, but has turned quite charming the older they get. They are carrying their child contained within themselves. They still love playing the way children do, and there hasn’t even been a period over time when they in embarrassment did hide that away. I am not sure if the reason for this is that they didn’t have an enough playful childhood, are clinging to a lost childhood or simply had a childhood so safe and happy-go-luck that they are still enjoying it!

Either way, Kojan still is an adventure. All year around. Even when it’s five feet of snow (1,5 meter) and -15°F  (-26°C) cold outside. Some years ago they installed an army stove in the center of the tree house so they are keeping themselves warm even in the middle of the winter. And I don’t know if hot dogs ever taste better than up in the Koja!

The treehouse is now more of an open source project. The Facebook group has 77 members, and they are seriously thinking about crowd funding to improve the economy, a thirty some tree compound is a pretty costly business, especially keeping it winter proof. And of course, Kojan is a story around here. Little kids want to sneak up there (but are not allowed except supervised by the senior Koja members!) and sometimes families come by to watch a legend still in progress.

Bang bang! Yes, it’s spring! I hear the cars parking outside my house, doors opening and closing, happy grown up kids laughing their way to the grove. And then the sound of the work starting. Bang bang! Last summer they extended the center room for grandma Gerd’s big left over leather couch to fit in and inserted a panorama window. I was actually asked to be the interior designer, very honored! This spring they already improved one of the suspension bridges between the platforms and added a new one connecting the Dance platform with the roof of the center room, which will be added on with a second floor. The plans are endless, creative, and for parents less tolerant than me when it comes to heights, slightly dangerous.

I am the mother of two sons, but I am blessed with so many more children. Growing up, our place was the hang out for all the boys in the villages around here. There were times when I felt I was running some kind of bed and breakfast and I must admit, most of the time it was pretty exhausting and I just wanted to throw them all out. Oh how I enjoyed the few moments all alone in a quite house! Oh how I wished for more of that! Little did I know that I would come to a point in life when my house would be all empty except for me day after day, month after month lying on the couch listening to the seldom interrupted silence. Be careful what you wish for…

So, when I hear those springtime sounds of hammers and nails I smile. And I love when they include me in their visit, coming running up my slate path giving me those big bear hugs. And of course, now there are girls in the project too, so finally I also have a bunch of lovely daughters!

Friday Trouble 1 turned 27. The birthday party happened in Kojan of course. And as for a present they built a long time planned and much looked forward to cableway from the center of the compound up in the trees all the way down to the field! It’s about a 160 feet (50 meter) ride for anyone who has the gut to do it! Take a look here:

I very rarely get to see Kojan other than from the ground; it’s most of the time impossible for me to get myself up there. Last summer though I had two good days when I could and it was so great after a lot of years sitting in the center room with my kids, all warm from the stove reading the guestbook. I don’t have a lot of hopes for an encore this summer but I am dreaming of course. And I am so happy and grateful to be allowed being a part of all my children’s playfulness, unlimited creativity and determination. Adam, Ludvig, Erik, Martin, Lars, Ingrid, Vilma, AnnSofie, Ida, Sarah, Andreas, Fredrik and everyone else who shows up here off and on; I love you guys, I think this is the pay off for my bed and breakfast days, and being your landlord is pure and simple joy!

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