I can't see a weeping willow tree without being reminded of the one that towered over my childhood home. Probably I'm remembering it wrong, but my father told the story that ours was a gift from a neighbor who couldn't get it to grow in their yard, so we ended up with this wisp of a tree that languished for a few years before it set about dominating our home landscape. There were other trees, lesser trees, that grew in the side yards; a few messy sycamores and a crabapple, but the weeping willow overshadowed them all.
Planting it in the middle of the backyard wasn't a wise choice, as it eventually grew so large as to block all sun from the patio and my brother's vegetable garden. It was twice as tall as the house and its roots found their way into the sewer pipes. The limbs were a constant threat to roof and windows. Eventually my father had it cut down after a large part of it came through the kitchen window one night during a storm.
Once it was down, the backyard never felt the same; there was too much sun and too much space. No more would it be one of the first trees in the neighborhood to show color in spring. There weren't any kids in the house by then to climb it or attach a rope swing to it.
I wonder if the new family that owns my dad's house now will plant some other tree in that empty space, although I suppose it doesn't look as if anything is missing to their eyes. But I remember the tree that stood so tall there, and am reminded of it when I see the first green of a willow's wispy branches. All that's missing from this one is the rope swing.
festival of Lights
3 weeks ago