When I was 16, I fell in love with a Tree.
She was tall, strong, full, stark, old, and beautiful.
I sat beneath her canopy while I studied, and she waited for me everyday.
I leaned against her rough, strong trunk for support and she never leaned away.
I felt her knobbly, crooked roots transform the ground I walked on – making her one with the earth beneath me.
In the silence I could hear the gentle rustling of her leaves, and it brought me peace.
When I was tired I would lay back and rest my head on the ground. I’d look up at the sky through her branches and her leaves, and her majesty would calm me and humble me.
She shaded me from the sun but she always let just enough of its rays pass through her branches that I would never forget where I was.
As the air grew cooler and the stars stayed out longer, her beautiful green faded into the yellow and orange and brown of the fall.
I watched her leaves leave her branches bare, yet she stood unwavering and strong.
As the wind beat against her naked arms, she never wavered and her beauty was greater for that.
Through the snow and the cold she persisted.
Winter was harsh and it kept me away – and I felt guilty because I feared I wouldn’t survive it with her.
Hoar frost blanketed her boughs at the darkest time of the year, yet her white silhouette was stark and brilliant against the grey of the winter sky.
With unwavering strength, unparalleled beauty, and unprecedented determination, she remained poised and ready to welcome the spring.
She patiently waited as the days grew longer and the sun stayed to melt the snow.
Her thick, hidden roots gathered their bounty without a suspecting soul.
I visited her more often again and I longed for her buds to appear.
But day after day, she stood unchanged.
Despite my wanting of her, she remained determined to take the time she needed.
And as I was ready to give up, she was ready to reveal her most amazing feat.
With the utmost confidence and skill and abiding determination, she put forth her innermost beauty.
Those same strong branches which lost their leaves before –
They bore buds that grew to forgive the sky and the sun and the wind, and they even grew to forgive me.
And I stood again, underneath her shade.
And she loved me again.
All the same.