I lost a dear friend the other day. This friend I had known since 1986, and their presence in my life grew larger and larger with each passing year. This friend reached out to the world as they opened up their arms to greet each morning with a wide eyed yawn reminiscent of a young, inquisitive child. An innocent learner of the seasons who never asked for anything, yet never stopped giving.
Oh how I admired this friend over the years. Oh how I thanked them for always being there, no matter what came their way. Oh how I learned to love them just as they were, and how over the years I saw how others saw in them those same qualities that caused me to stand and stare up at them, as their inspiration continued to flood my world.
Since 1986, the old maple tree in front of our home has sheltered us from the cold, storming winds out of the west. The old maple tree hugged our home and warmed our spirits with a constant blanket of security. The old maple tree gave us shade against the blistering hands of the summer sun and gathered the songs of the birds with each new day’s dawn.
The strong limbs of our dear friend grew brittle as the years passed, but still, our old maple tree continued to stand strong and proud as it watched over the Battleridge.
The other morning, I walked up to where our old friend stood for so many years, and as I knelt down and reached out, I couldn’t believe she was gone. The emptiness I felt was similar to those same feelings I had when our barn came down. A hole in my heart that just didn’t make any sense.
We tend to grow fond of certain things in our lives. We love without knowing, and as the days continue to pass, we hang on to the memories with a passion that we can rarely explain.
For thirty years the majestic maple burst with life every spring. Her unfolding leaves sang to life as the wind whistled down from the mountains, and as I knelt there on our front lawn, I could hear her whispering good bye.
There’s an empty place in my soul.
There’s a void that I can’t explain.
There’s a calling that I hear along the wind.
There’s a friend that I will forever be grateful for.
As I sit here and write, I am being flooded with emotions. I shake my head and wonder why, I mean, over a tree? Really?
Yes, over a tree. A rock solid, tall, proud, beautiful maple tree if you please, and yes, a dear friend indeed.