Losing feathers

Losing Feathers
Losing Feathers

I imagined a tree.

When it was young it grew rapidly into a tall tree with a wide trunk, thick bark and so many luscious dark-green leaves that our whole family could sit in its shade when the sun was at it’s most merciless during the heat of the summers day.

I imagined the tree.

When it started to loose the first leaf nobody noticed, because there were so many green ones and that one red-yellow leaf that floated to the ground at dusk, went unseen and was perhaps trod upon by one of our daughters during a game of tag or when flying a kite.

I imagined the tree.

When I was  in my long dark green gown with my red-brown hair being tugged by the wind, during the first storm of our fall and a cloud of red and yellow leaves – all so sudden dead –  was released and carried away just before the rain arrived.

I imagined that tree..

When it was old and gnarled and the limbs were like fingers on a hand grasping upwards as the frozen image of  the hand of a drowning swimmer reaching out in desperation or a skeletal hand pushing through the soil of a graveyard. The last of the leaves had long gone.

I imagine our tree.

When, the next year, after the snow has melted, trees would blossom again and cloak themselves in their emerald versatility, but ours will be like a bird that lost it’s feathers and shows only the withered frame of a creature that would never fly again. With each incident and each conflict another feather would be plucked from it’s body until that moment came that we both did not care about that stab in the heart when yet another moment in life  made us drift apart further.

That was our tree:the only tree we had together.

In memoriam

“So you finally set yourself to it?”  His neighbors voice rumbled. He was a big fellow, with a large beard. He was the kind that roared when he laughed or when he downed too many beers at the pub down the road.

James looked up and took in the solid shape that loomed over the two of them. The last leaves, showing a myriad colors, floated down, released by the wind. One caressed his nose and then continued its way to the mossy ground.

He smelled wet grass and earth. He remembered a rope swing hanging from lowest the big branch. He recalled the laughter of children and a picnic in August in the cool comfort of the shades.

James patted the old worn surface. Felt the irregularities. The  deep groves. Parts of the bark had fallen off, more were giving way under the pressure of his touch. One piece showed the fading shape of a heart. Two names one each side, unreadable, but he knew them anyway.

“It is dead now..”  His voice trembled.

“And one day it will topple over.  A storm will come and  then it falls. It is a danger now..”

“A danger.. I guess it is.”

“I could get my chain saw. It will be easier.”.

“You could,” James nodded. He fingered the lenght of wood in his hand. It felt sturdy, new, and strong. The heavy metal at the end would be unrelenting, “but i want to do it like this.”

“It will take you forever..”

“It is the least I can do…”

The other one peered at him and smiled. “Like burying a loved one, huh?

“Something like that…”

“It is just a piece of wood now, you know. Dead wood.”

James grabbed the handle of the axe with both hands. He felt the weight of the head pulling itself to the ground. He practised a swing.

“It feels sturdy.”

“Better get started then, before you grow roots and someone comes along and cuts down the both of you. “

James took a step forward, braced himself and started the first of his many swings.

The tree did not cry out, but he felt a pain nevertheless.