Thursday, March 19, 2009

That Tree Will Live Again

He sits slumped over with his chin nearly touching his chest, his diminutive form swallowed up by the wheelchair.  He holds onto three sections of a Hershey's chocolate bar. This ninety-year old ex-World War Two bombardier resides in a long-term care facility nearby. The hospice aide wipes away the dark brown drool from his mouth.  And then he speaks--emphatically and deliberately--and the heavens open:

The tree stands alone in the field. It was there when I was a boy. It has been there for years and years and years. There's just one left. There's no other tree like it. Nobody knows where it is. The tree will live forever, even after I'm gone and you're gone.  It will be green forever. Someday it will be cut down and cut up and put away. That tree will live again.  No question about it. That tree is good for a lifetime. And I hope it makes it. I think it will. I'm sure it will. Let it live as long as it wants to live. How do people know what's going on with a tree? It's growing. Years from now, it's going to be one big tree. That's good country where the tree is, unusually good country. That's all I know.

The chaplain asks: Could that tree be like you?

It just might be, he replied. It just might be.



Geoff said...

This great picture now graces my computer desktop here at work (hope you don't mind).

We'll all be green forever, give or take a recycling or two...or so.

I'll use the picture to remind me--getting used to the idea of being recycled is hard on the old "self".

David Heald said...

The photo isn't mine, bro, but I'm glad you like it. Stay tuned for some of my own.

I'm an agnostic about the afterlife but I hope in the best sense--with a spirit of openness, curiosity, and not knowing. My heart says we'll be green forever. Whatever that means....