I should have given that familiar tree a hug when I had the chance. But I never knew where in our neighborhood it stands. And it was not on my property for me to call my own. Only when I look through my window to gaze and chase the sunset do I ever see its glorious green and its magnificent stature.
Yesterday I had witnessed how they had cut off its crown and branches. Were they pruning or cutting her? I really don’t know. I am still saddened by the thought that it will take years for its leaves to grow back, or maybe she will never recover from those cuts.
I had spent four years chasing the sunset through my window. And she has always been a part of the view, adding color and character to my subject. Through my lens I see her smiling with the sunset’s rays. Through the years I have watched how her leaves changed color and form to follow the season. She has withstood strong winds and rains when all the others around her have not. I know her long branches have welcomed breeding birds and provided refuge to them that are migrating.
I still feel the notch in my stomach whenever I recall the image of her struggling against the man’s striking and sawing. This disturbing human activity I had seen will remain a puzzle. Will I see the tree grow back its leaves again? Will she be around when I come home after years overseas? Will I ever find another tree as stately as she while I chase and capture the sunset?
And then I noticed the young tree beside her. With the sunset as her last audience and her leaves reaching out to touch the branches of the smaller tree, she whispered her wisdom. “As small and as frail as you are, stand tall even when storms and strong winds beat you. The years will prove how strong a tree you will be when you have gained branches to withstand nature’s path of arrogance. I leave behind a shadow for you to follow even when my leaves are not there to behold. Remember my dear, I too was once a sapling like you. “