The Weeping Willows do not weep, they only droop… Droop. Drooper. Drooper-Trooper. Just like the nick name I gave a friend. I miss that friend. I miss him like a limb I had to cut off, not so I could survive, but so that the limb could be happy and free… So I could watch it dance and leap around the world, play hide and go seek, go places and build things, fly like a seed on the wind and never let me know when or if he’d come back again. Not that he ever grew out of me, no, not really. It was more like I grew attached to him.
Like every friend, I seem to say good-bye more than hello to you. Like stripping pieces of clothing off. Tearing off bits of bark. Peeling off paper from the birch. But when I rest against the oaks and seek out the willows, their deep and solid wood speak to me of years of seeing all come and go.
I see faces in the hollows of trees, find company with the wild things, and sing to the hum of life in the green growing life in the woods all around me… It’s the most constant, comforting thing I have to turn to, the most nearest and dearest. But the sky and wind turned against my woods last year. That storm ripped down the oldest and youngest of trees. The first week of July 2011 was one of mourning for me. Even when I was warned not to walk through the woods because of the danger of the falling trees, I had to know how my best friends were doing.
The Weeping Willows were some of the ones hardest hit. Some split straight down the middle. The other fallen trees were one thing, but by the time I came across the willows, my heart gave out. I fell to my knees and cried, cried, cried without shame, with complete shock, causing panic to strangers passing by. I was more of a crazy sight than the storm’s paths of destruction.
But that is me.
But there was no reason to. As you can evidently see in the photo above, a year later the willow with the missing limbs is doing just fine. She’s been trimmed with chain saws, her wood has not been discarded, she has healed, and stands as if no storm ever blew through. The shock of that time is over. It is a reminder that even now, while I weep over missing someone, or anything, at this time, say, next year, there will be nothing to be sorry over.
But I am me.
I seem to need to cry over everything.
Better I do it alone right now, and joyfully, if you can imagine, than in a crowd of people who do not understand what it is to be so passionate about everything.
I’m not obsessed. Not actually mournful. Not this moment. I am brimming with the aches of joy and the desire to reach out and share, but all I have is this medium — these words, today — no limbs to touch you, only characters and sentences to use as fingers to reach beyond myself, beyond this oneness, and tell you that even though I am missing someone, I am not dying. The missing makes me live.
Like pain reminding my body I am alive.