The first time I saw the tree, it was a scrawny sapling. I could clench my entire hand around the skinny trunk. Only the tiniest of green leaves budded from branches that were little more than sticks. Wood planks supported the base of the tree, keeping it upright during summer storms. It seemed this spindly tree had no hope of survival.
My brother's ashes are buried in the cemetery across town. The rich, green grass is too perfect. The tall, lush trees are too uniform. It seems so artificial. There is no hint of life here. I feel only the icy chill of death. Even the foliage cannot cover what this place is for. The endless rows of congruent gravestones disclose the real story. I am looking for my brother's spirit, but I find nothing in this cold, dreary place.
Years later, I return to the park to visit the tree we planted in his memory. To my amazement, the scrawny sapling has flourished into a beautiful dogwood tree. The low branches grow out and slightly upward, as if reaching for a hug. Burgeoning oval leaves blanket the tree in hues of green. Creamy white flowers blossom all about. The sweet, floral scent is abundant on the gentle Spring breeze. I feel warmth, as something touches my heart. There is life within this tree. At last, I have found my brother once more.
Angela C. Orlando
Revised April, 2012