It’s interesting how we make associations in our current lives based on our memories from childhood. When we first saw the house we bought, we had narrowed our search down to 2 homes. I was set on one, my husband on the other. We were away for business when the realtor sent us the information. The house looked like it could be a contender and a bridge between our two desires. We asked her to set a viewing for when we returned.
It was February, and in northwest Indiana, that means cold, and often snow. We were flying home from Colorado where it was in the 70’s and just wonderful. The first thing I noticed as we drove up to the house was an old corkscrew willow cuddled up to the corner of the house. Not too close, but providing protection and lending some character of its own.
I was enchanted. I’d had a corkscrew willow in the backyard growing up. It was my playhouse, my refuge and indeed, my friend. I loved that tree and I was heartbroken when my mother had it cut down. I’m sure there were other reasons, but my child’s brain only remembers that the tree was too messy and that mom and dad were tired of all the sticks.
Now here I was, looking to buy a home for my family, and like a treasured friend, this corkscrew willow welcomed us in. The rest of the house was also wonderful. A bit older than we’d planned, but it was a great compromise between the other 2 contenders and seemed to fit us perfectly. We bought the home and we’ve been here about 6 months.
Yesterday I had to say goodbye to another willow friend. No, I wasn’t tired of the mess or the branches on the ground, far from it. I loved this tree and what it gave to our yard and the local wildlife. However, in June, we had an arborist check out the tree and he told us it was dying, and the trunk was too far gone to save. I didn’t want to believe it, I didn’t want to say goodbye, so I put off having the tree removed.
One month later, my dad died suddenly. After making it through an iffy surgery, he was feeling great and the doctors told him they’d see him in 20 years. Then he was just suddenly gone. Two weeks later we lost a close friend; the man who helped cement the friendship between my husband and I, and the man who married us almost 15 years later was gone suddenly at age 42. Amidst all the grief and the chaos, I couldn’t stand the thought of losing any more, even if it was “just a tree”.
It’s now mid-October, and though the pain of losing family is still strong, we’re healing. The days are getting shorter and cooler and the nights are getting quite chilly. The leaves are turning and we just celebrated our 2nd anniversary. Winter with its heavy snows isn’t far away. It’s time to say goodbye to another friend.
My willow came down yesterday. I hope the chipmunks, the squirrels and the birds that have made it their home and playground don’t move too far away. I enjoy watching them out my office window. Perhaps these branches we cut will root properly and our guardian friend will continue in another life. I certainly hope so. It breaks my heart to see him gone.