Original version posted on October 10, 2020
I remember the days of horses. Then the clatter of carriages. Now, the cars that fill the air with smoke.
I’ve been here for a long time, you see. I don’t quite know how long. All I know is as the sun rises each day, the world is a little bit different. Sometimes, I think it’s for the better. Other times, I wish for yesterday’s sunrise.
This planet is not the same as it was when I was born. Back then, the people who took shelter beneath my thin branches ran around, played games, talked, picnicked. Now, they’re rather still and quiet, yet more worn, somehow. When they do talk, they’re angry; conversations that once sparked curiosity and friendship now ignite like wildfires, engulfing the speakers in rage and hate before a word has hardly been said.
There are still some who frolic in my shade, but they are younger and fewer all the time. Once, the field would have been full of squealing laughter and pounding footsteps from all ages, young and old. I wonder: where did all the children go?
The world has changed, while I remain unchanged. Where once I was an object of awe, an inspiration for poetry and song, I am now simply “in the way,” an everyday pillar of nature that could be mowed down on a whim. If only they would look up—as the people so seldom do anymore—and see that my branches and leaves are unique. I am not the same as the tree across the field or the one just beside me. I am handcrafted, just like any other piece of creation.
Perhaps I’m simply too old to understand, a bygone relic that no longer has a place here. And yet, there are still times when someone will climb into my branches and laugh like they have discovered heaven on earth. Times when a couple will kiss in my shadow and smile as they whisper words of love. Times when my shade will serve as a needed reprieve from the harsh sun.
Then, I am reminded that I belong. I remain. And so, I love.
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