The Weeping Willow
Growing up in the suburbs always seemed so foreign to me. Here we were, a black family, living in a predominantly white community. But it was home, home that my family dubbed “Whiteville.” In our neighborhood it seemed that everyone in the suburb had a place, a niche in our little community. Our older neighbors, were the super sweet couple that paid us in money or baked cookies if we shoveled their driveway or raked the leaves. The people at the end of the block were the party organizers. For three years, every Fourth of July, we had amazing parties consisting of food, alcohol, sparklers, tons of people, and of course fireworks. But, when I say fireworks I mean thousands of dollars of fireworks collected over months from every house in the neighborhood. The sweetest part of the whole thing, next to the cookies, was that no one had a permit for fireworks. So it was all illegal, and although police threatened, no one cared. It was the Fourth of July! The people catty-corner to us, well they were the fix it couple. If there was something needing to be fixed, Brian with his infinite plethora of tools could do the job. So in all of this here my family sat, watching this commutative hive live amongst each other. So naturally, we had to come up with something other than filling a diversity quote. Little did we know what we gave wasn’t something you handed out, or was even tangible at all. What we gave was peace.
Our backyard was full of roses, various flowering plants, even a couple of succulents. But the most powerful in its influence and spatial awareness was that of our weeping willow tree. We had raised this wonderful tree from its youth and after a couple of years the tree’s cambium grew, and grew. The braches long like arms reached out, and the leaves like long slender fingers. But what was even greater was the peace that the tree gave. As the wind howled, the braches would dance ever so slightly in respect to it. It was like the tree had exuded some sort of calming spirituality about it. I can remember visiting the tree before an honor band audition or my first dance, nervous. But leaving having gained a sort of tranquil confidence. But one day, the wind howled too much and the rain plagued our little community. Whole power lines, had been brought down and along with them our tree. We tried, with all our might, to try to get rid of the crime nature had brought against our weeping tree but its tusks were too great for us. So we hired men with the ability to conquer the crime. After a whole day of lugging, pushing, fighting, and sweat all that was left was a stump. Our tree was gone. As the next day sprung upon us, neighbors had realized that the tree was gone, and announced how they had missed it. How sometimes they would look out just to catch a glimpse of the branches swaying in the wind. Even Brian, with his stolid nature hadn’t realize how tranquil the tree was, until it was gone. All of sudden the roses, azaleas, and evergreens had disappeared. Our backyard was naked. But in the wake of our once beautiful tree, we as a family realized what we had offered the community. What our ecological niche was, and all it took was a storm and a weeping willow tree.