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A long time ago, on a riverbank in a small town, a few friends and myself found refuge underneath two very tall Weeping Willows. Their long, sweeping branches concealed us and the sloped ground underneath was the only seats needed. Beneath those trees, we dreamt of futures, shared stories and jokes, ran and rolled then stretched out on our backs and absorbed the hidden world that was our own.

Cars coming on and off a bridge yards away, drove past but never looked in our direction. The sun light sprinkled its rays through the branches as we danced to music from a boom box someone brought. Hours passed before we even thought about time. The moon replaced the sun and its beams weaved through branches illuminating the earth. As we stood and twirled our shadows mimicked us across the grass.

We grew up and moved on and abandoned our trees. They still stand tall, but they lost their youth. Their branches no longer hide the earth below.

My husband listened to my friendship stories for years while we were dating. He understood how much I loved those friends and the trees. He planted a Weeping Willow in the backyard of our home the first year we were married. It was one of the best surprises of my life. I have this irritating ability to inadvertently ruin surprises for myself. I love surprises. I’m not the person who snoops to find out what gift I may be receiving. To me, the anticipation is just as much fun as the reveal. The fact that I hate to stumble upon a gift or gifts (An organ for Christmas, a Texas Instrument Computer, A new winter coat) may be the very reason Life arranges for the surprises to be ruined. But the day he planted the tree, I had no idea or any knowledge prior that he was about to present me with my most cherished gift.

After a long day of work, my stomach grumbled, and my feet were tired. I wanted nothing more than to retreat into our new home. My husband had the day off. He had plans to clean up the yard and cut the grass. He was a landscaper and was using our yard for a new cut he learned. As I pushed opened the back door, he was walking up the back steps to come get me. “Look at the grass do you like it?” I did like it. The diagonal lines gave a neat effect. As I looked at the grass he again said “Look, do you like it?”  Again, I replied “Yes, I love it, but I’m starving let’s go eat.”

As I turned to go back into the house, he yelled “Mar, look all the way back.” My eyes moved from the grass to the back of the yard. There stood my very own Weeping Willow. It was love at first sight. It was not yet grown and had many years to become the type of Willow that my friends and I once played under, but in a blink of an eye it rose and showered its branches over the yard and provided a new hidden world filled with new dreams, more children and refuge from the sun when the day was too hot.

I spent many afternoons under the tree writing as my children played and imagined. We studied the trunk of the tree and swore we could see faces within the bark. They used its branches to make crowns for their heads and swung on a tire that hung from one of its limbs. We decided to give the tree a name. Beauteous felt right. Under a Willow feels like a forest filled with fantastical beings or a magical land filled with fairies, talking trees, and all other whimsical creatures to a child. As Beauteous grew so did they. The children from yesterday no longer wanted to frolic under the tree, but they did enjoy laying blankets beneath its branches to find shelter from the sun. They gathered their friends under Beauteous when they wanted to share secrets while listening to the music of their adolescence. Our Beauteous was strong and tall and so loved. As the tree aged, intruders descended upon its sturdy shell and set up their infantry inside its trunk. No matter how we tried to save Beauteous the army of pests fought harder to destroy.

The once bountiful tree was becoming frail and the ground beneath exposed. A stormy night and high winds were what got Beauteous in the end. I didn’t witness the fall, but I will never forget looking out into the backyard and seeing our tree splattered across the lawn. The invaders weakened his soul enough that when the big storm came, he didn’t have the strength to weather the storm. There he lay and there we cried.

“I’m going to polyurethane the trunk and build a rock garden around it,” my husband said when he saw how sad the death of our tree made me. We moved it to the side of the yard, replanted the trunk into fresh dirt and built a flower bed around it. The week we were to go get the polyurethane I noticed a few doves trotting around in front of Beauteous. I inched closer to the tree to take a photo. As the birds flew away a glimmer of green caught my eye. New life was sprouting from Beauteous.

I’m sure there is a scientific reason as why this tree decided to grow back, but I choose to believe that this tree/ Beauteous loved us as much as we loved it. Its trunk may never again rise to a great height. It may look disheveled and its branches awry, but as long as it keeps sprouting, I know Beauteous continues to flourish.

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Thirteen Things about  Maribeth
 In relation to me changing my blog presentation this week, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about trees. I love trees. They are the decorations that put beauty into landscapes. This is a tribute to thirteen trees and what they symbolize.

1…. Weeping Willow-(My all time favorite)-Willow tree symbolism- magic, healing, inner vision, dreams

2...Pine Trees (Reminds me of my childhood) Pine tree symbolism - creativity, life, longevity, immortality

3... Palm Trees (Represents places I would like to see) Palm tree symbolism- peace and opportunity

4...Birch Trees (I remember doing a Birch tree in Art Class and I loved how its trunk was striped) Birch tree symbolism- new beginnings, cleansing of past, vision quests

 4...Apple Trees (Makes you feel homey)  Apple tree symbolism- magic, youth, beauty, happiness

5...Chestnut Trees (The first boy I fell in love with lived in a house with a big Chestnut tree in the backyard. Chestnut trees symbolize LOVE.

5...Maple Trees (To me they represent richness and depth) Maple tree symbolism- balance, promise, practicality

6...Fig Tree (Reminds me of an older Italian couple my husband cut grass for in his youth. The husband would come out in his Sunday Clothes and pick figs from the tree.) Fig Tree symbolism-Divination,Fertility,Love

7...Lemon Tree (How Fun!)Longevity,purification,friendship,love

8...Oak Tree (I see it as sturdy,The one who has the most wisdom)Oak Tree Symbolism-Protection,Health,Money,Healing,Potency,Fertility,Luck

8...Cherry Trees (Cherry Blossoms are awesome trees and really know how to brighten a day) Cherry Symbolism-Death and rebirth, new akakenings.

9...Pear Tree (Reminds me of my neighbors' yard when I was a little girl. We hoped the pears would fall into our yard so we could taste them. Pear Tree symbolism-Lust,Love (Who would have thought?)

9...Bonsai Trees (The Karate Kid, I was captivated by these tiny trees after watching the Mr. Miyagi carefully take care of them) The only symbolis I found on these trees are Endurance.

10...Elm Trees (When bare they can be very haunting) Strength of will, intuition

11...Maple Tree (Absolutely gorgeous in Fall-The color is magnificient) Maple Tree Symbolism-


12...Magnolia-(Romantic and whimsical)Magnolia Tree Symbolism-Fidelity

13...MONEY TREE (I have been searching for this one for a long time, if anyone knows its whereabouts please do tell :)

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