The Weeping Willow
Touching the rough trunk of the magnificent Weeping Willow tree that stands in the woods behind our house I’m overwhelmed with a feeling of sadness, happiness and longing. This is our tree. My family’s tree. Well technically nobody owns it but this is the tree I used to climb when I was a little girl. The first tree I ever climbed. I remember scraping my hands and knees from the maze like grooves running up and down the thick trunk.
This is the tree my parents got married under. The tree where I had my first kiss, first heartbreak, first love and first time. I’d come sit under the impressive structure almost everyday and now I have to say goodbye. Goodbye to the beautiful flowing leaves that provided me with so much comfort over the years. I remember in summer how the sun would shine through the gaps and create the most breathtaking image. Streams of light peeking down at me as I would lay and take a nap or listen to music. The leaves would move in a hot summer breeze and the light would dance around making natures very own disco ball.
The same could be said for autumn time only the leaves would turn the most gorgeous shades of gold, red, orange, yellow and everything in between. Laying under it I didn’t need a picnic blanket because the tree had shed her beautiful leaves and offered me a place to lay while she still offered me shade. My parents would take us all down here so we could make giant piles of leaves and jump into them. We would compete to see who could make the biggest mess of it. Dad always won and mum always said it was because he had more body mass than the rest of us. He’d then accuse her of calling him fat and he’d chase her around the clearing as she laughed her head off. My siblings and I would have tears and tummy aches by the time she was caught because we had laughed so much.
In the winter time was the most magical. Ice would cover the whole thing and it would look like a giant waterfall of pure white ice that we would have snow fights under. We’d build snow men and create snow angels. We even had a camp out once but none of us lasted the night. We had all bundled up and scurried back home not even an hour into sleeping time. We ended up setting the tents up in the house and sleeping there. At least that way nobody got sick. From then on we would do the same thing every winter. It had become tradition.
The tree had such a special place in all of our hearts. My grandparents first owned this house and gifted it to my dad when they decided to retire and move 2 states away. For the next 20 years we built so many memories here. Same good and some not so good. The death of my mother would always crush me but because of this tree I know that I can come back to this place, to this house, and be comforted instead of angered and hurt. My mum would always light up an entire room with her infectious smiles the same way this magical willow tree lit up the clearing on a summer’s day.
Moving into spring the leaves would be the greenest they’d been all year long. The cool breeze would make the leaves dance. It was the perfect time to listen to music. My best friends always asked to go the willow tree during spring. On top of it being perfect whether it was the perfect view. My siblings and I would all go down every weekend we were all free and spend time with each other. As kids we would go there to plan a small production we’d spend all week long working on and preform them for our parents on the Saturday night. It was always Saturday night because that was the perfect day. No school, no work and nothing the next day so we’d all stay up all night and camp out next to the tree and talk about our weeks. I would give anything to go back to those times.
The leaves swaying in waves from the breezes, the smell of the wild flowers that grew at the edges of the clearing. The sound of the small lake not too far out that would flood when it rained and all the animals would come and drink before it went down again. I remember one Saturday we were all laying out on some blankets looking up at the sky. Not talking, just taking in life and feeling content when a small deer crashed through the foilage on the other side of the clearing. We all slowly sat up and gaped (we totally played it cool) while the poor thing stared right back, scared out of it’s mind. It wasn’t long before it’s mum came running in behind it. We all had a staring match for a little while before she nudged her child and they both took off in the direction they had come. After that we all squealed and gushed (my mum, sister and I gushed and squealed while my brother and dad just laughed and smiled).
We talked about that moment for a month straight before we settled down fully. See, our mum had loved deer more than any other animal on the planet. She had figurines and cards and stuffed toys and books all having to do with deer. Her favourite movie was Bambi and no matter how many times she watched it she always cried. Whenever we were out and saw anything with a deer on it we’d buy it for her and she’d be so happy weather it was a key chain or a bag or even a pillow she always held the most genuine happiness in her eyes no matter what we gave her but she had never seen a deer in person before. Sure there were a couple at the zoo but she had always wanted to see a wild deer. She was so happy we were there with her when it happened and she was so happy it was by our tree. We were all so excited for her.
After a while we ended up buying some outdoor furniture and we groomed the grass and the surrounding plants. It was more beautiful than anything I’d ever seen. We had a weather proof trunk with blankets and pillows and lamps tucked away between 2 trees on the left of the clearing. It fit perfectly so we said it was fate.
Now as I sit with my back to the tree on the last week of summer before I head off to college I take a deep breath and try to let go. My brother is already at college, he has been for the past year and I got into the same one so I’m leaving too. Dad was offered a huge promotion right near us so it made sense for all of us to move to the next state. My little sister was just starting high school and she’s already been enrolled in a nice school close to our new home. Dad said that buying that place meant that we could all at least still live together if we wanted. I admit it’s a load off my mind but I’m gonna miss this place so much.
I’ll miss the times we watched Bambi out here with mum. I’ll miss hanging out here with my friends and family. I’ll miss just being here. Breathing in life. I’ll miss all the moments I’ve had here and I’m sad that I won’t be able to create new moments. The time for moment creating was over and it was taking a huge toll on my heart. It almost felt like I was saying goodbye to mum all over again.
Dad said he wouldn’t tell the people who lived here about this place unless we wanted him to. I don’t know how to give him an answer. What if they taint our beautiful, magical place and make it something less than it is.
With my time of departure quickly approaching and my tears finally drying up I stand and turn to face our beloved tree. It sounds stupid, I know but it was our thing. It is our thing. I now realise it will always be our thing and nobody can take that away from us. Looking up at the streams of sun cutting through the gaps I close my eyes, take in a deep breath and smile. I smile because nobody can taint our memories and nobody can alter them or take them away. Their ours and we’ll always cherish the moments we all shared here. I know I will and I know mum will be here with us no matter where we are in the world.
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Snow White QueenWrite a Review