Five Minute Friday – Tree

It is that time of week again where we abandon the critic, the over-thinking, the doubts and we write for the sheer joy of it.  We’re mothers, and students and brave seekers as we put our hearts, wide open, on the screen for all to see.  Won’t you join us here? 

WORD:  Tree


It rose with gnarled majesty right outside the big kitchen window.  Its limbs and branches entwined in nature’s love knot, as boughs hung heavy over the yard.

I can see it there in my minds eye, the big maple tree that grew beside the old white farmhouse.  That clapboard siding, black shutters and chipped paint housed four generations of my family.  The house where my mother grew up is the same house where my children harbored  those magical moments that only children can conjure.

It would be the gathering place after church on Sundays, the shade of that old maple.  Lawn chairs would be set up with a speed that spoke of the anticipation of conversation and debate.  I can still see the white, circular metal tables that would hold countless cups of coffee and dutch pastries, picked up with regularity, along with raisin bread, from the Sunshine Bakery down the street.

The great-Omas, one who lived across the street and the other who flew over the big wide ocean, would sit in chairs their crocheting and knitting in their laps, their hands moving in rhythm with the Dutch conversation.  And while I couldn’t understand much of what they were saying, there was comfort in their native tongue that washed over me as I played with my dolls or coloured in pages with the box of pencils that Oma kept for moments such as this.

Babies would nap under that tree, the old wooden play-pen brought out and set up and the sun would dapple cheeks as it peeked through the green leaves.  The whisper of the wind a lullaby hushing away the tears and the tired.

That big old maple held memories in its branches, the roots were watered with life and laughter and tears.  Its bark absorbed weddings and funerals and newborn cries.  It held life and pushed that life right out the tips of the leafy edges.

It is no wonder that there came a time when its memory-ladened limbs strained and cracked under the enormous weight of four generations.  And with a sound that shook the house one of its branches came down with a thud.

“A safety hazard,” they said.  “Rotting core,” they murmured.  So with chainsaws and axes that mighty maple fell hard,  with nothing but a stump to mark its place.

The memories under that tree are etched in my heart.  Precious moments from childhood are never forgotten and when I close my eyes I can almost hear the song it sung for decades and see how it it rose with gnarled majesty.

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