There’s an old stump in the back of my yard, enveloped in trees and little purple flowers during the summer time. I had always found it crawling with insects and stripped of a lot of its bark, but that beaten stump provided hours of unending enjoyment for a little girl. It was home to all of my tiny rock people who were hiding a precious treasure of pretty white pebbles behind its bark, and who vowed to protect their treasure from any unwanted thieves. It’s invaded by leaves and branches during the fall and an earthy smell during the spring. These seasons pass by, and as I’m walking up to it now in the middle of winter, I feel as cold as the pile of snow covering it from top to bottom.
I struggle to sit on top of the stump and slide off every time I succeed, so I brush the snow off and observe the medieval roof of my castle. No more pebbles and rocks guard the surroundings. Splintered pieces of wood no longer climb the walls to search for the king. It’s frozen with snow and with time, as if abandoned by its inhabitants. The frozen feeling that I was presented with when I first walked up to the stump is replaced with a strange wave of a different emotion. I recognize it as a longing for when this stump meant everything to me but a dead tree. The long sigh that ensues comes out in a white puff, warming the tip of my nose for a fleeting moment.
After I settle on top of it with my head kept low and my hat covering my ears, I forget the reason why I came out. The past few days have consisted of snow, clouds, and old books to pass the time. Now that the sun has finally revealed itself once again I don’t at first notice it setting. When I look up from under the rim of my hat, the yellow sky catches me off guard. I can just start to notice the little white specks of stars and the orange-red sun slowly moving down under the horizon. It’ll be getting dark soon, but for now the view is beautiful. I shift a bit on the stump and move my hat from covering my eyes. Small snowflakes gently drift down, moving about in the light breeze. It’s unpleasantly freezing. I’ve never enjoyed winter for anything but its beauty. Tonight however, the bitter temperature compliments the warm sunset, making it seem all the more beautiful.
I stay outside until the sun sets and my fingers plead for me to head back to the warmth. Taking long steps through the deep snow toward the door and reminiscing over that seemingly lonely old stump, I realize that it cannot possibly be lonely. Memories are not meant to be mourned over. I gaze up at the bright sky and smile softly. Similar to how the stars come out when the sun sets in the evening, innumerable glowing prospects are waiting for me. Just as that old stump in the back of my yard remains standing throughout the brightness of day and the darkness of night, I’ll also remain standing as time goes on. I’ll never truly have to say goodbye to my backyard castle.