As a young girl swings back and forth the view before her never changes. Then with time and seasons nothing stays the same.
Growing up with a big front yard provided a view of trees, the lake, and cars swishing past. The willow trees danced on the other side of the driveway as the breeze swayed their feathery branches. The giant poplar trees stood boldly along the road in front of our house.
The ash tree stood alone. Not really. It was the only tree close to our house. It, also, was the closest tree to my swing. Most of my attention to the view in front of me as I swung was focused on that tree. In summers it produced distinct red berries that colored my swinging sight. Creating songs about the tree occupied my thoughts as I moved closer to it, then back again.
The night of a big storm grabbed my attention. Flashes of lightning glowed outside my window. The thought of my mountain ash tree never entered my mind. Not until the next day.
One of the lower branches had broken. As I walked closer, I could see the broken limb was still partially attached to the main branch. I felt sad to pick up the lagging section of my broken mountain ash.
Then an idea occurred to me. After retrieving some tape and small rope, I wrapped the break in the branch. Using the rope I secured my mountain ash project so that the limb maintained the same angle that it had prior to the storm.
Time went by. I honestly don’t recall how long, but in due time I decided to unwrap the broken branch. I was amazed to see the branch had grown strong again. There was a swelling where the break had been, but could now support itself without my improvised sling.
The tree continued to grow. Then came a day I never thought I would see. As its branches also continued to sprout, it was no longer a simple little mountain ash. I was a big tree. This posed problems for mowing. My dad could no longer get close enough to the tree to mow the lawn underneath it.
I do not even know when it happened. One day I sauntered over to the swing. The tree had been pruned. The lump in branch I had saved could still be seen. But the branch was gone. What had once been a project of mine and had turned into a obstacle for my father. A life lesson, I suppose. Saying, “Goodbye,” happens.
In the years since, I have noticed mountain ash trees from time to time. They always seem to be at the right place at the right time.
The day of my father’s funeral, I looked up from the plot he had chosen. There looking over his tombstone. . . was a smiling mountain ash, of course.