Friday, September 25, 2015

Once Upon a Time...There Was a Willow Tree.

Once upon a time, two little children lived in a nice, little house with a play area to swing, climb, slide and imagine.   The little girl loved to make up stories and put on plays.  The little boy loved to play in the dirt.   He loved to sift it through his fingers and kick it up and dig in it.  Next to the play area was a patch of ground where the grass didn't want to grow.

Most people would see a bare patch of grass, but the boy saw dirt.   He saw a place to dig and build and explore.  Maybe he would dig all the way down to China.  Down and down and down he dug all through the summer and into the fall making mounds of dirt for his little, metal cars to climb and roads around the hole in the ground.  Soon, it was time to go back to school and the boy and his friend forgot about the hole in the ground.  But they'd dug so deep, water appeared in the hole.  All winter, the rains filled the hole higher and higher and the mud was too thick to play cars anymore.

One spring morning, the boy's mother was walking the dog around the neighborhood when she saw a curly willow branch on the sidewalk.  She'd always loved curly willow trees, but where would she put one?  Then she remembered the deep hole in the play area filled with water and she had an idea. She picked up the curly willow branch, took it home and put it in the hole her son dug.

The tree grew.  And so did the girl and the boy.  The play yard disappeared and a garden appeared.  Tomatoes and lettuce and curly willow grew in harmony for many more years.  Until one day, the curly willow's branches started to break, the trunk got thick and gnarled and old.  Just as the girl and boy had grown too old for the play area, the curly willow had grown too big for the yard, too.  And it was time to say good bye to the curly willow tree.

One day, four men arrived with a giant chipper, crane truck, ropes and chain saws.  In less than 2 hours, all that remained of the 20 year old curly willow tree was a stump.

It was time but it was sad.  So many seasons of growth had passed for the tree, and the girl and the boy and the family.  Even with the tree gone the memories remain, always.  Little feet running.  Muddy hands digging.  Princesses in a castle playhouse and pirates on swings.  Laughter and shouts and tears and cheers, now silent.

Though the tree is gone; there is a stump to sit on in a new patch of sunshine, as memories float down like fallen leaves and tomatoes grow.

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