There once was a tire, tied to a rope, hanging from my strongest limb. On that tire, the wee boy would swing, his mother pushing him, his hair floating through the breeze she created. His laugh was my favourite sound. It was hearty and full of life and was bursting with bliss. It meant I was worth something to him. I made him happy and he brought me joy I’d never known before.
Sometimes the boy and his mother would lay out a blanket beneath me and I would protect them from the sun’s unrelenting heat. They would sit on that blanket and eat their lunch before running into the lake to swim and splash and then dry themselves on the ground above my roots. I was there for their enjoyment and their protection and they kept me company through the long summer days. We loved each other, the three of us.
But then one summer, their visits began getting shorter. He was growing bigger, you see, and the tire swing pulled on my limbs so very hard. I tried to stay strong, but I just couldn’t hold him. My branch broke and the boy fell and I could feel the mother’s disappointment. She was disappointed in me and she was disappointed that time was passing so quickly. Her boy was growing, sure, but it was my fault I couldn’t hold him and I lost a piece of them that day. I was no longer strong and my shade fell with my branch. They could still sun themselves by my side, but they didn’t need me. I was in the way and their laughter was no longer mine to share.
As the tides began to come closer, they blanketed the once sandy beach and pushed the boy and his mother away for good. The water rushed around me, wrapping itself through my roots and up my trunk. I was alone for the first time since I was a sapling, since I was planted near this lake that is now my only friend.
Years passed and the loneliness was all consuming, but I kept my memories close. I grew older and taller, weather-worn and water-logged. Then the boy came to me, less a boy and more a man, with his own child in tow. His hair was graying and he was as tall as my lowest branch. He had grown into a fine looking man, but he had no laugh for me that day. They wore fishing boots that came up to their waist to protect them from the lake around me. He carried with him a box. He held it tight in one hand and the hand of his daughter in the other. They looked forlorn and I wished more than ever I could have stayed strong for him so many years ago. The little girl let go of her father’s hand and she turned to me, looking up.
“Is this the tree, daddy?”
“That’s the one, sweetheart. Grandma used to bring me here every summer when I was small.”
The man looked down at the box, sighed a heavy breath, and pulled back the elastic that was holding it shut. He closed his eyes and whispered for his daughter to do the same. The breeze caught their hair just then, sending it aflutter, and I remembered the boy in that tire, his mother pushing. Those days were my best days.
He opened his eyes and crouched down to the girl. They both took hold of the box and tipped it gently in the wind, sending delicate ash through the air, past my leaves, to settle afloat upon the surface of the glass-calm water around me. The two watched as it was swallowed into the lake, then turned to walk away. The man stopped for a moment at my trunk, looked up as he touched my bark, and then he left for good.
Google Image search “tree by a lake” and pick a photo that inspires you.
Write a short short that includes imagery from the photo. Complete story arc.
I’ve never written from the point of view of a tree before…