There was a tree that sat at the edge of a pond. Upon that tree there hung two wooden swings. This pond and this tree were situated in the center of a university campus. Beside the tree was a mailbox that contained a journal and some pens. Every few months or so that journal would fill up, with writings, drawings, names, musings. Then one day a new journal would appear in its place. I never knew who replaced the journals or where they went when they disappeared, but I kind of liked the mystery of it all. During my first year of college I spent a lot of time at that tree, both alone and with my friends. We would climb into the lower branches, swing on its swings, and rest against its trunk. Of course we weren't the only ones who did this. Often there would be other people swinging and relaxing alongside us, making memories of their own. In the winter the tree would be lit up with strings of beautiful white lights, a sort of heaven on earth.
This week I found out that this beloved tree of mine was cut down. It had grown sick over the course of the last several years of people swinging and resting and walking upon its roots. I had seen the rapid decline of the tree over the last three years. When I came to college there were two swings on either side of the tree. One was removed, followed shortly by the other. Bags of "tree medicine" were placed at its base in an attempt to revive what was once so magnificent. Of course I had to know this day was coming, the tree was ill past the point of return. Still, I cannot even begin to describe the heartbreak and sadness that I felt when I received the news. I know its so silly to get upset over a tree, but I couldn't help it. I was beside myself. I decided to reminisce on all the good times I shared at that tree with my friends.
I wanted to write this piece as a tribute to the tree, as silly as that may sound. So here's to the tree. To the years of strength it must have taken to sustain the souls that climbed and swung from your branches. To the couples who ventured to you in the late hours of the night. To the friends that came to visit you on the beautiful days where there wasn't a cloud in the sky and a worry in the world, and to the individuals who sought solace in your presence. Thank you for being your own version of The Giving Tree to our campus. May you live on in the memories and photos of your visitors, and in the words written in the journals. This post, while probably not that interesting to most was just a way to express my gratitude, as written so beautifully on one of the tree's swings (pictured above), to a place that became so special to me in such a short span of time. This fall I will return to your spot, where I'm sure just a stump remains and I will give you a proper farewell, but this will have to do for now. Farewell beautiful.