Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Willow Tree

From now until the end of February I am going to do my best to post stories and things on my blog that are not political and that are things others might find positive, inspiring or just interesting. I wrote about my cats the other day. Yesterday I wrote about my daughter's graduation.

Today I want to tell you about the willow tree growing in my front yard.

It started as a stick, about two feet long, as part of a flower arrangement that I received from two very good friends, Mike and Polly, when my son died in 2004. The flower arrangement was actually a pot of azaleas in full bloom and they were gorgeous. Someone stuck this stick in the pot that was very pretty in the way of willows -- it was not straight, it curled around on itself and all over the place. So, I left the stick in the pot because I though it was pretty.

Well, in a few weeks I noticed that the stick was sprouting leaves! Cool, I thought to myself, I'll just let this thing be and see what happens.

A couple of months later I had to remove the stick that was now becoming a small tree from the pot of azaleas. So I put the little tree in the flower bed next to my front door, never thinking that it would really do much more than it was doing at that point. And there it stayed for the next year. That little willow tree just got taller and taller and its branches became leggier and leggier until I had to dig it up and move it again to a place in my yard where it would have room to grow and not block my front door!

Here we are, five years later, and that little stick has become a quite tall willow in my front yard! Its upper branches are taller than the first story of my house!

The significance of this willow tree is great to me. It represents the cycle of birth, death and rebirth that I believe each and every one of us experiences. What began as a stick that was cut from its life source eventually became what is now a graceful, flowing willow tree when it was put in soil and nurtured.

I am emotionally attached to my willow tree. It gives me hope in something out there larger than myself that is continuous.

I have always felt an affinity for the willow trees. It began when I was a child in Idaho and my friend's family had a huge weeping willow in their yard. Teena and I spent many hours as young girls playing in, under and around that tree. We could swing on its low-hanging branches and loved the shade it gave us from the hot summer sun. I loved to climb it every chance I had.

As an adult, I am long past the age of climbing trees -- though I truly wish I could because I just love trees and when I climbed them as a young girl, they made me feel happy. My heart felt very heavy and sad last week when we had to cut down our rotted out old oak tree in the front yard even though it was a danger to our house and the neighbor's house.

I did some research on Willow Trees that grow in Houston this week and learned that mine is called a Corkscrew Willow or -- and this is the name I like best -- a Dragon's Claw Willow. How cool is that?


1 comment:

Carol said...

I enjoyed reading about the circle of life through your willow tree. I, too, like willows a lot. And climbing trees! Ahhhh... the memories.

What started as an act of kindness at a time of grief will continue to give shade and beauty and continuity to many beings for a long time. Very cool...