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The Great Sycamore Tree
Once again, the autumn winds brushed over the old sycamore tree down in the wide, grassy meadow whispering news of the old house that overlooked the massive land. The owners were moving out, never to be seen by the great sycamore tree again. The tree had lost many humans before, and had grown use to the constant comings and goings of them, but each time a human moved away a new one would take its place. So the tree wondered: who would now sit on his swing? There was more than wonder flowing through the tree?s branches. Sadness washed upon him as he realized that the human who has been with him for many years would now be leaving.
As the great Sycamore stood in the gathering gloom, he did not notice the old, wrinkled lady hobble up to him. He shivered as the old woman sat down, resting on the wooden post hanging by rope from one of the sycamore?s tall branches. Although the tattered human looked very different and worn with age, the tree saw that the woman?s eyes were the same as those of the young, lively girl who had played around him for so many years.
The woman sat in peace on the sycamore swing for a long time. She rocked herself back and forth, gentle as the wind blew at the multicolored leaves that fell in a thin layer around the tree?s roots. The woman sat, watching, for hours, and as each colored leaf fell to the ground, a different memory passed through each of their minds. The history of the woman and the tree weaved together. The Sycamore could remember each time she had gone down to the huge sycamore that stood on the land her family had owned for many years.
There had once been many more trees that had surrounded this one, but as the years had passed, each one had been chopped down either for firewood, or lumber. Now their dead roots lay under a thick layer of grass acting as a burden to the soil. This one mighty tree still remained, no doubt for its beauty and strength. A young girl, much like this old lady once was, must have found the same sense of belonging in the Sycamore, for the tree still stood unharmed.
The Sycamore had been the home and shelter of many animals over the years, as well. Squirrels had made their homes in the cavity during the winter, and during the spring, birds had built their nests in the tall branches of the tree. It even offered shelter to harmful bugs during the years.
Many girls and boys had played around the tree. They would climb his trunk, scraping their knees and hanging from the branches. Sometimes, they would fall to the ground harming their delicate bodies. Eventually though, the children grew up and left. Only the woman who sat on his swing had stayed with him this long.
He could recall her as a young girl, whose eyes were full of hope and joy. She swung on his swing; blond braided pigtails flopped on her shoulders like a willow tree?s branches in the wind. The girl told him about school; the latest news on friends and bullies, the games that she played on the playground, and her favorite books which she acted out for him with great enthusiasm. She wanted to be an actress more than anything when she grew older. He?ll never forget the day when the girl came to him crying because she didn?t get a part in the school play.
Of course there were the countless number of picnics full of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, apples, carrots, pie and cool ice tea that the two had shared.
And then the young girl, not so young any more, came out to him when her best friend moved away, and her grandmas and grandpas died, praying calmly for all of them.
Both the tree and the old woman remembered the countless times together. The tree especially remembered that one autumn day thirty years ago when the girl was in her second year of college; she and her boyfriend were having a picnic before they went back to their separate schools. The girl and the boy, having been dating for sometime, talked about the past, present and the future. Just after they had finished their lemon pie, the boy picked the girl up and placed her on the swing. Kneeling down, the boy took out of his coat pocket a beautiful diamond ring and proposed marriage.
The tree thought he was going to lose his little angel who had kept him company for so long. But no, when the now woman and her fiancé ·ere wed, her mother and father moved out, leaving the house upon the hill to them. In this house a family was started, and boys and girls played on the tree?s branches once again.
Once in a while, the woman would walk down to the tree at night and think about the course of her life, looking up into the diamond silk-sky.
But now the woman?s children were all grown up and had families of their own. Sometimes the children would bring their own children to play in the great big field that surrounded the tree, but otherwise it was just the tree and his angel. The tree knew that in time everything must come to an end, even precious angels. But he couldn?t believe his angel was leaving now. Her heart was weak and she needed to be under intense care. His angel was dying.
Hours had passed since the woman had first sat on the tree?s swing. She probably would have stayed longer if it weren?t for a small girl with pigtails flopping behind her running up to the woman. The little girl looked much like her grandmother did at that age. She told her grandma that it was time to go. The old woman stood up and whispered her good-byes to the tree, sadly touching the tree?s rough bark.
The woman walked away, stopping about ten feet from were she had just been sitting; then she turned around, looking at the tree. Suddenly a calm but strong breeze blew and the tree let one of his leaves go. Gently the leaf traveled to the ground in front of the woman. Shakily, the woman bent down and picked up the leaf.
A solitary tear trickled down the old lady's layers of folded skin. With that the angel turned around and left.
The sycamore tree knew he would never see her again, but he reminded himself that he would no doubt be another angel in another time. Even though he knew that he also knew that none of them would ever be quite like the one that just left him.