What is a “Yonder Tree” Anyway?

What’s the “Yonder Tree?”

You might have noticed my little printing logo, “Yonder Tree Book House,” that I have tucked away at the foot of my website and on the cover of my book, “Valeria & The Enemy of Time” (and future books that I am planning out and working on). And you might have wondered, where in the world did that come from? 

“Yonder” is one of those old-fashion words that tickles me. It fits in the same category that other words like, “folks, butter beans, rest a spell, I’ll swain, and fetch me a glass of tea,” rest in. Sometimes these words work when a more modern one won’t. Which sounds better, “I’ll swain! It’s the folks! Come rest a spell; Ma will fetch you a glass of tea while I dish you up some hot butter beans!” or “Goodness! It’s the relatives! Come and sit down; Mom will bring you some tea while I portion out some mature lima beans, cooked soft with a bit of ham.”

One of my favorite song titles is a Bill Monroe instrumental called “Come Hither to Go Yonder.” But now, let’s go to where the word really stuck in my ear. 

“My Book House, In the Nursery.” That was the title of an old 1930’s nursery rhyme book my sister gave me for my kids. The illustrations are charming and the verses and tales are quaint and taken from different parts of the world. One day I came in and heard my husband singing (singing!!) a song from the book to one of the kiddos sitting on his lap. He was totally making up the tune, but it seemed to fit. It was “The Barnyard,” and it started like this: 

I had a cat and the cat pleased me,

I fed my cat under yonder tree,

And my little cat went fiddle-dee-dee.

You work your way through pigs and ducks and finally to a baby, and they all get fed under yonder tree. I recently did a little search and found lots of variations. Most don’t start with a cat, but I like the idea of the One Who Feeds starting with her little kitty cat.

A couple years ago I made a few batches of mead. A bottle of mead just doesn’t look right without a cool label, so I created “Yonder Tree Meadery” and slapped cute labels on the bottles. When I decided to make a publishing logo for myself, I was still feelin’ it, so I used the ol’ Yonder Tree again.

I like to think of how a tree seems to match up to play, good times, and reading. I imagine a perfect summer day would be perched up in a comfy chair in a tree house, a cold drink at hand, a snack, and all the time in the world to read the good book in your hand, itself made from the fibers of a tree.

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