2 min read
02 Aug

    This is a tale of love and of pain, of death and of life, but above all it is a tale of hope. The kind of hope and love people speak about with eyes brimming in the light. I am Freya and this is my story. I was planted 100 years ago and grew as a seedling into a giant oak tree. My bark strong enough to withstand the changing generations of humans and weather. I had a family to call my own, and they visited me often. They started out as small humans who used me as refuge from the glaring sun. I stood atop a large hill overlooking their home. They were pear farmers and I watched many of my bright-eyed brethren give life to that family. We spoke in the passing moments of the wind, and my roots could feel everything around me. I was very good friends with a particular pear tree named Rufina and she was their prized tree. Always blooming, always delivering life giving fruit and they adored her. I had no fruit to give, but I served in other ways to this family.      

     Over the years I watched the children grow into wonderful human beings. They had such fire in their eyes, such hope and such passion that it made my roots tingle. One day they added a swing to my branches and I loved being able to see them sway in the wind with me. It felt like we were dancing together to the sound of the breeze. They had picnics under me and I watched true love blossom under my branches. The young boy grew into a handsome young man and that little girl into a beautiful woman. The young man had his first kiss under my shade and it was a blessing watching all of their firsts. The young woman married her first love and moved away for quite some time leaving her brother to take charge of the orchard. That man worked hard endlessly pruning and picking those pear trees day in day out.      

     Eventually he found love as well and they were married on top of the hill where I reigned queen. They asked for nothing in return but I gave them my shade and my love. A few more years passed and the man had started a family of his own. Then came the drought and with it brought many painful moments. First his father passed away shortly followed by his mother. He chose to bury them in the place he remembered most, the place he found love and hope. They were buried on that hill under my protection and care. My roots guided them home, and I thanked them for having stood by me all this time. The next tragedy was the pear trees dying from the drought, and I had to stand by watching my friends wither away. The last to pass was their strongest, my friend Rufina but not even she could withstand the drought. After that things only continued to spiral downwards. The young woman returned home with a face full of pain and anger. I could hardly recognize the child I had grown to love. She had divorced her husband and lost her child.  I watched her suffer for so long, and I wanted to wrap my roots around her to comfort her. Eventually she too passed and was buried under my care.      

     The young man who had lost everything in his orchard struggled to make ends meet. In a last-ditch effort, he turned to me for help in the most surprising manner. He came to me and asked my permission to graft a pear branch onto me, and I obliged. I had withstood everything life had thrown at me and I was finally able to bear fruit for this young man. When he had come to seen the fruit, I bared he ran up in excitement and hugged me. I had become his saving grace and would go on to bare many pears after that moment. He was able to rebuild his orchard from my fruit and my branches. I had given him hope like I always wanted to. He had lost so much but he never lost sight of his hope and his love. He kept his family together through the drought, and loved them immensely. My roots grew a little deeper in those days, just like the love for his family. I held his lost loved ones in my roots, cradling them and growing from their love they had for me.       

     Ultimately, even we trees must close our eyes eventually. I watched his family flourish another generation and at the end of his life he came to me once more. He thanked me for being a bastion of hope, and shade. I became his refuge and he was eternally grateful. He asked me to watch over his family for as long as I could.  He rested under my branches for the final time and whispered thank you for bringing hope back to me. He too was buried on that hill, and once more I guided him back to his home. I closed my eyes not too long after that day, I had seen and I had given all I could in my lifetime. I let the wind take my seeds and hoped to be replanted somewhere that needed hope.  

-Mack

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