By Patrice Gopo

September 8, 2014


To the right of my childhood home, where the grass melted into a thick wood, our tree’s steady wooden arms embraced two sisters and their imaginary games. I remember low branches covered with lichen and soft moss, just a foot or two above dark soil. The dip between branch and trunk served as a sort of woodland lap, a seat to welcome even the most unlikely tree climber. From early morning, we slid our hands across peeling birch bark while our feet peeked from beneath a cap of bright, green leaves. By day’s end, sticky, brown sap stained sleeves, palms and pant legs.

One year my parents spent a chunk of their savings replacing a decaying septic system. From their accounts, a chainsaw came to cut down our tree and the wood around too. Then a bulldozer arrived to turn the earth and bury a new tank. Gone was the heady spice of pine needles, birch leaves and a breathing wood. Replaced instead with the dull smell of packed dirt.

Later, after it was all done, my mother bought a bucket of wildflower seeds for us to sprinkle across the bald ground. We never did. Not that spring or any spring after. Now whenever I see fields of wildflowers edging the highway or curling around an old barn, I stare at the purples, reds and oranges stretching wide. I pretend I remember the feel of thin petals brushing against my ankles, the scent of color brought to life.


Photo "Dy and Abby" provided by Genessa Charlet, via Flickr creative commons license.

comments powered by Disqus « Back to Beautiful-Things

Newsletter Sign Up

shadow shadow