The Oak Tree
An oak tree had always been there.
As a sapling, I watched horses plough the fields; saw crops planted in orderly rows. The droughts were ruthless when I was young. I longed for the floods, to feel the blissful rain sliding down my branches.
My leaves grew fresh and green in the summer, and I would smile up at the sun. In winter, I would cower awkwardly, bald and exposed, begging for spring to bring the gift of renewal, and cloak me from my misery.
Much to my surprise as a naive young tree, the village moved out to greet me, devouring the farmland. Racing through the village were children. With bright smiles and shrieking laughter, they climbed my towering limbs. A swing was soon installed, and I beamed as they stood in line for their turn.
Sprinting to the front of the line, I spied a small girl with earthy eyes. She swung so high she almost reached the stars.
I relished each new day like the first drop of rain after a desperate drought. I felt proud as I sat, perfectly situated, in the centre of this growing town where people converged like ants.
I wept when I heard the church bells; saw the small girl, now fully grown, married – only a dozen cycles of losing my leaves since her first swing. Not long after, I felt the gentle strain on my arm as her children swung high.
I cried even harder when her grave was dug nearby. My roots slithered through the earth like worms, protecting where she lay.
Horses soon became distant memories lost in time, and monstrous vehicles thundered down roads. Toxic fumes infiltrated the air and the city hummed with a chaotic vibrancy.
I felt small, sitting in the grassy square. With so many children swinging on my sagging shoulders, I could no longer keep track of the sweet earthy-eyed girl’s descendants.
I noticed then, that a small sapling had emerged beside me.
An oak tree would always be there.