Saturday, October 2, 2010

Two boys, a hole to China and a Willow tree.

Once upon a time there were two little boys digging a hole to China. They dug and dug, day after day, scooping out the earth with their shovels. The hole got deeper and deeper. The hole got so big that one boy could stand in it and just barely see over the top. The boys were proud of their deep hole, but even after all that work, China was nowhere in sight. So one day, the boys just stopped digging. When the rains came, the hole filled up with water making a nice small pool in the yard.

Walking along the street after a huge wind and rain storm, the Mom spotted a Willow branch laying by the sidewalk. She picked it up, carried it home and put it in the hole filled with water. She'd always loved curly Willow trees and wondered if this branch would grow to fill the hole her son and his friend had dug.

Sure enough, the Willow branch sent out shoots and rooted itself in the big hole in the yard and grew. At first, it grew tilted so much to one side that it had to be propped up. But its trunk grew stronger, its roots longer and soon the little Willow branch in the big hole became a big Willow tree in the ground. Sometimes in windy or rainy weather, the smaller curly Willow branches would snap off. But it didn't bother the tree, it just kept growing.

Until one day, the tree was twice as tall as the house and its branches grew to cover the roof, the chimney and the next door neighbors roof as well.

The boy and his friend grew too. Over the years, like the tree, their limbs got longer and they got taller. Growing from little boys digging a hole to China and riding bikes to teenagers driving cars to college graduates. Yet through all those years, the boys remained friends.

And even though the days of digging holes to China were long past, they didn't forget the curly Willow tree. But they could see that the tree was getting too big for the yard, and had to be trimmed.

So one day, they climbed up into the curly Willow tree and cut her branches back. They attached ropes to her branches and sawed through the bark. They guided her branches safely off the roof, away from the chimney and down to the ground. Up and down they climbed into the tree, along the branches and onto ladders and the roof. They talked and laughed and worked, once again, together in the side yard in the sun. The curly Willow was trimmed and out of danger from the seasonal storms. There was much more sunlight streaming into the backyard garden.

The Mom smiled at the boys, who once upon a time dug a hole that maybe never made it to China, but who were now making their way in the world as strong, gentle young men yet, still happy to be working and playing together. And she wondered if there was another Mom out there with two little boys digging a hole to China who might like a curly Willow tree in her backyard because now, she had her own stack of branches.

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