Friday, February 22, 2008

Entry #23

Within My Sight
by Patricia Abbott


Isaiah hadn’t wanted to plant a tree. “Good farmland doesn’t want a tree,” he’d told Sarah the day they moved to Wisconsin Territory from Chicago. He wasn’t a farmer yet but someone had told him this: that land not used for crops was wasted land.

“But I need a tree to look at from the kitchen window,” Sarah told him, the new baby drowsing on her shoulder.

So he planted a tree and it was all that stood between them and their crops. And Sarah watched it grow, watched it shade the bit of the earth beneath it.

“That damned tree,” Isaiah said more than once as the tree grew. “It gets in the way of my planting and plowing. That dumb mule heads right for it, thinking he’ll stand in a bit of shade.”

But he wasn’t scolding her. He liked watching his son and then daughters play beneath it. He liked watching the snow catch on its branches. He liked hanging eggs from it in the spring and a swing in summer.

And, as time passed, it was often Isaiah who slept beneath it.

He never thought to plant another tree and Sarah didn’t ask. Once the children were grown, once the fields began to shrink as they sold off more land, once they seldom left the house, they hardly noticed it.

Until the day it was Sarah lying beneath the tree. It was as if she’d picked her final place herself.

29 comments:

sandra seamans said...

Nice one Patti!

Beth said...

Yes, much agreed. Very nice!

Missy said...

Things you plant and watch grow really do leave you feeling this way. Lovely!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, guys. I'm still getting used to the word limit. It's even more like writing poetry than the 750 format.

Remiman said...

Patti,
I really liked this peace. Happy, and melancholy at the same time. An acute snapshot of a complete life. I particularly enjoyed the paragraph that starts:But he wasn't scolding her.
rel

DBA Lehane said...

The beauty and sadness of love and life so elegantly written!

paisley said...

an excellent portrait of the circle of life....

JLB said...

I really like the tree-people connection in this piece - very nice!

24crayons said...

This one was great. I really liked how the tree becomes so important for the whole family.

Veggies.... said...

Really enjoyed reading this story. The circle of life....

BernardL said...

Touching rendition of simple blessings.

Sarah Hina said...

I love how you made the tree the centerpiece of this family's life. Very realistic thoughts and feelings, too.

A touching and well written story.

Vesper said...

Beautiful story, weaving joy and sadness as only life can do it...

bluesugarpoet said...

Nicely done. I like how the tree grew into their lives quietly.

pjd said...

This is smooth, with a serenity to it from the beginning. The title and name of the MC suggest something spiritual that I can't quite put my finger on. But it has to do, I think, with being rewarded for making way for beauty.

SzélsőFa said...

I liked the true characters and the sad, yet acceptable ending, too.

pattinase (abbott) said...

YOu guys are too kind. You're gonna have me writing these all the time. Thanks for the encouraging words.

Anonymous said...

Sweet but no sap. A beautifully written wee story.
John McAuley

Patricia J. Hale said...

Capturing a whole life together in less than 250 words. Nicely done.

r2 said...

Very poetic. I liked this alot.

Precie said...

A lovely story! Embracing a lovely relationship in such a short space! Very nice!

Hoodie said...

Breathtaking. This has jumped into my favorites list.

This is the best interpretation of the picture for me. I just love it.

MickyMc said...

nice warm feel to this story

wrath999 said...

'They hardly noticed it' is a very telling line. I enjoyed it and this shows us why we are human.

Aerin said...

I like the imagery and symbolism the names invoke. Nice.

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

Poignant piece of writing which blends beauty with life's eternal dance. Lovely imagery too.

ChristineEldin said...

Very nice! I know of a tree in the middle of a cornfield. I really love it. Perhaps this is your cornfield....

I laughed at your sentence about the mule.

:-)

jason evans said...

I really like the notion that people need something rough and tactile on the land. Long expanses of crops can make us feel lost. Great idea here. High marks!

Aine said...

I totally relate to Sarah's need for a tree. We need something to focus on when we look out into the world. And there is something so maternal about having a tree to mark the passing time as children grow.