When I was a little girl I had no idea what a Weeping Willow Tree was, I had never even heard the name before. I can remember in great detail the first time that I ever laid eyes on a weeping willow tree. My family, which includes my mom, my dad, and my three brothers and me, were driving to my uncle’s house in Sacramento California for a visit. There are many things that I do remember about my uncle’s house. For instance, I remember that he had a big red house and he had a lot of land. He had horses and chickens, and other animals, but none of these things stood out in my mind as much as the weeping willow tree. The first time that I remember driving up to my uncle’s house off to the right I saw this amazingly beautiful tree. It was all by it’s self in the middle of a field. I could not take my eyes off of it. It was so different from any tree I had ever seen. The branches looked like they were tall enough to touch the stars, and yet they reached all the way back to the ground. The color of the leaves was a vibrant emerald green. They were greener than any pasture that I had ever seen.
When I was a young girl I used to pretend that I had a fort deep inside the branches of this tree. At times I felt like this tree was my friend. This friend could not talk to me, but I knew that my new friend was always listening. I could hide there under the branches escaping judgment, and with no one telling me what to do. I felt safe and happy when I was near this tree. This was a truly magical place for me as a child. This tree offered so much more than what the eye can see. One moment it was a friend and confidant and another moment it was a place to play and have fun. It was a place to be able to be a child with out the watchful eyes of the adults. My brothers and I would play hide and seek for hours. We never grew tired of playing outside with the weeping willow tree.
Often times when we would visit my uncle’s house and I would have to go inside to visit my family. For a child this was a pretty boring experience. I don’t remember interacting with my aunt and uncle very much, but I do remember playing outside. I spent all my time outside by the weeping willow tree. My uncle and aunt didn’t have any young children for me to play with. This made my decision that much easier. Either I stayed inside with the adults that talked all day, or I could go outside and play in the sunshine. Usually, I would make the first mad dash that I could out to the back yard. I would run straight to the weeping willow tree. I would bypass the horses and the chickens. I was never allowed to be around the animals unsupervised anyway so it really diminished any interest that I had in those animals. Instead I focused all of my attention on my new friend. I can remember swinging on the strong and reliable branches. I could swing back and fourth for what seemed like a long time. I remember the wind blowing in my hair, and thinking I never wanted to leave. I never got bored when I was outside with the weeping willow tree. There were always new adventures to be had.
On one particular day I recall my father telling all of us children to get into the car. He said that we were going to my Uncle Ronnie’s house for the day. I was so excited that I tripped and fell on my way to the car. While I was sitting in the car I was already imaging that I was swinging on the branches. My eyes were closed and I could feel the wind blowing on my face. The moment that we got there I jumped out of the car with barely enough time to say hello to my aunt and uncle. I was running as fast as I could to get to my new friend. I stayed down by the tree the entire day. When it was time to leave I was tired, but I still felt sad that I had to leave my new friend. I didn’t know when we were coming back and that mad e me sad too.
The greatest thing about being young is having an active imagination. When you combine an active imagination and this beautiful tree the sky is truly the limit. I can remember so many times pretending that inside the branches was a secret hospital. Where I was the only surgeon and I was saving lives. I felt like being there under the weeping willow tree gave me special powers. I felt like there wasn’t anything that I could not do.
As I look back and I remember those days at my Uncle’s house I have nothing but fond memories. I enjoy remembering a time in my life where I was free and happy. Since that time whenever I see another weeping willow tree it takes me back to when I was a young girl. It reminds me of another time in my life a time that I would like to remember more often, a time that puts a smile on my face.