The Tree

Written on:August 23, 2011
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For Charlotte, and all who have worked or taught at The Learning Tree

Time passes in on the cool autumn breeze
The wise, old tree contently chuckles, it has long since made its peace with time
Like clockwork, the children run up to pick the fruit and play in the shade
Such joy the young faces bring the old tree, so filled with enthusiasm and wonderment
The tree nurtures the children’s imagination, it quenches their curiosity
Week after week, it cares for the children through the cold of winter and the renewal of spring
Until, one day, a gust of warm summer wind comes and rushes the children away
The wise, old tree pays this no matter and waits patiently for autumn to come again.

It was not always easy for the wise, old tree
When the first children came, the tree was young but happy to give them what little fruit and shade it had
The tree cherished its moments with the children but eventually they left and the tree was heartbroken
Young trees misunderstand time, so when the children left, the tree was resentful
It spent the summer after the first children angry at time and saddened by the loss
But it also cherished the memories of the lessons the children learned and the friendships they made
When the autumn breeze arrived again, new children came with it, and the tree’s branches had grown
Longer and more fruitful, it now had more fruit to pick and more shade for the children to play under

And so it went year after year for the young, growing tree
The children came, picked fruit, played in the shade, but eventually left.
They learned from the tree and created wonderful friendships, but each was missed by the tree after leaving
So each year, with that first gust of summer wind, the tree grew more resentful of time
Until one autumn, one of the first children came back as an adult to bring her own son to the tree
The tree was overcome with excitement by the reconnection with an old friend
As the young boy ran to play with the other children under the tree, the adult whispered to it
“Don’t resent time, time carries with it the memories that allow your branches to grow.”

At first, the young, growing tree did not understand
She explained to it that all the memories cherished were shared with all the children
The children came and learned, played and picked fruit, left but cherished their memory of the tree
Friendships lasted, lessons transformed lives, imaginations blossomed, each child impacted
She told it that when one of her friends was lost suddenly, memories of the tree gave her strength
The shared memories made the trees branches grow but also branched the children to each other
Before leaving, she whispered to it, “Some of us children have taken your fruit and planted our own trees”
The wise, growing tree chuckled at this and waited contently for summer to come again.

Written June 2010 in San Antonio, Texas

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