Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Entry #65

The Lonely Tree
by Wayne Scheer


Jack stared at the lonely tree at the edge of his property, recalling the tree house he had built for his two daughters. Ellen, older by a year, loved to pretend she was a bird flying off to new worlds, while Susan outgrew the house the day it was built. She preferred solid ground.

Later, Jack built a swing under the tree. He remembered sharing it with Susan, who asked his blessing to marry Alan as soon as she graduated high school. She was too young, Jack worried. But he gave in. What else could he do? They married under the tree while Jack fretted over threatening skies. None of that mattered, now that his Little Susie and Alan had grown children of their own.

Ellen eventually flew off to explore the world. When she returned, they sat on the swing, shaded by the tree, and she told him wondrous stories about her adventures in Turkey where she had worked as a Peace Corps volunteer.

He was proud of his daughters and wished his wife had known them as grown women. The two girls were ten and eight when he and Marianne sat beneath the stoic tree and cried over the news Dr. Harris had delivered that afternoon.

Jack stared at the old tree at the edge of his property. It was autumn now. The tree would soon offer no shade, and its leaves, as scattered as an old man's memories, would be little more than a nuisance.

13 comments:

Aerin said...

Oh my goodness, I wish he were my father. Such a sweet tribute to his daughters. I love, love, love the characterization of the girls - "Susan outgrew it the day it was built."

This has definitely vaulted into my top 3!

Sarah Hina said...

That last paragraph put the knife in. Beautifully wrought, Wayne.

I liked how so many of the family's joys and losses are reflected in that tree. This one spoke to me.

paisley said...

this was excellent

JaneyV said...

I think this is one of my favourites too. The tree and Jack bound together by all the sadness and happiness they'd shared. You have painted a heartbreaking yet uplifting story of a loving father living with a great loss.

Poignant and beautiful.

sandra seamans said...

This is just beautiful, Wayne!

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

Lovely connection between joy and sorrow, past and present. A beautiful piece of writing.

Beth said...

Just a really love slice of life piece.

Hoodie said...

"leaves as scattered as an old man's memories" What a great line.

This was a well-crafted remeniscence (sp?). I really enjoyed it.

SzélsőFa said...

Oh, this was beautiful. I liked the last paragraph the most, too, but there were other nice pieces elsewhere within. Really nice piece.

bluesugarpoet said...

The memories are a stark reminder of his bare life without his love ones - I like how you've tied that all to the tree. Nicely crafted!

Rob said...

I really enjoyed this. You did a great job showing the tree as a central figure in the whirlwind of lives around it.

jason evans said...

It's unusual to effectively deliver a sense of lifetime in such a short space, but you managed to achieve it quite well. Great efficiency in thought and words.

Aine said...

If only trees could record the years-- what stories they could tell. I love how the tree holds the memories for Jack. I hope this moment of loneliness is just a moment.

I enjoyed this.