companion post here and here
The tree sighed heavily as it stretched its cranky branches as far as they could go so that it caught the morning sun. It knew that if it didn’t move its branches at the sun’s first glimpse, the mountain would look down on him with disdain and say once again, “See? See? That Methuselah has got to go! He’s long outlived his usefulness!”
In fact, it wasn’t that long ago that the mountain tried to do just that. The young buck conspired with Father Nature last winter and Father Nature obliged by sending into the valley an usually harsh snowstorm, the likes of which haven’t been seen in quite sometime.
The snowstorm and accompanying wind tried its best to take him out. Even though he lost a couple of branches here and there, his original owner’s son made sure that no other harm would happen to him. He came out on numerous occasions to brush away the heavy snow from his branches so that they wouldn’t break. He dug around the base so that he wouldn't freeze too much, and most importantly, he laid out some birdseed.
The tree was secretly overjoyed about the birdseed. For most of the past summer and fall, the owner’s son stopped putting out birdseed, which cause his feathered friends to stop visiting. This made the tree very sad, because without his feather friends to keep him company, his days and nights became very lonely.
But, as some of the other trees and plants would often say, hope springs eternal. So the tree began praying to Mother Nature, to ask her if she could give the owner’s son a little nudge to see if he could bring back his feathered friends. Mother Nature, already annoyed with Father Nature for doing an end around and the mountain for being such a self centered brat, said that she would try her very best to nudge things along.
Early one late winter day in which the weather was unusually warm, the owner’s son stepped out on the house to inspect the front yard. He took a couple of steps towards the tree and was very surprised to see a couple of squirrels bothering the tree. Annoyed, the owner’s son grabbed a couple of rocks and threw them at the squirrels. With pinpoint accuracy, the landed just in front of them, for the son didn’t want to harm them, but to simply make them stay away.
Later that week, the owner’s son planted a half dozen bird feeders in and around the old tree. After filling them up, the owner’s son gave the tree a couple of gentle taps on the trunk and said, “Give them a little time to adjust.”
So the tree did.
Every morning he stretched out his branches to catch the morning sun, while at the same time sending out a few S.O.S.’s that said, “Come back, you are truly wanted.” Of course no one heard his S.O.S.’s at first, since the tree had no leaves to speak off yet and no leaves means no S.O.S.’s to be heard.
But as winter turned into spring, something magical happened. The birds started returning at the exact same moment that the tree finally began to sprout leaves. At first only a couple would show up, but before long, as soon as the tree began to sprout more leaves, more of his feathered friends would stop by to visit and chew the fat.
Until finally, one glorious warm early summer day, all of his branches, as well as the front yard, were occupied by not only his wonderful feathered friends, but a few of his plant friends as well.
Life was indeed good, because the tree now knew that he had friends who cared about him very much, and those friends would help him outlast and out-duel the mountain, which if you really think about it, is all that a wizened tree can really ask for.
(c) 2013 by G.B. Miller; All Rights Reserved