Of the Trees
“I wonder what that tree would say if it could talk?” Five-year-old Sylvia asked, sitting with her grandfather on a shaded park bench.
“It wouldn’t say anything, trees can’t talk,” Said a grumpy man on a cell phone from another bench. The little girl’s ramblings were distracting him from his lunch break business call.
“What if it could?” Sylvia asked.
The businessman ignored her.
“I’m sure that tree would have lots to say.” Grandpa said. “What do you think it would say?”
Sylvia stroked her chin. “I think it would be singing.”
“Singing?” Asked Grandpa.
Sylvia nodded, her pigtails swinging. “Because all the birdies sit with the tree like they do when Snow White sings. And I would sing if I got to be outside all the time where it’s sunny. When it rains, no one makes it come inside, it gets to dance in the raindrops. See, Grandpa? If you close your eyes real tight and listen, you can hear it singing.” Sylvia demonstrated.
When Sylvia opened her eyes, Grandpa was sitting with his eyes shut tight. “You’re right, I can hear it singing.” He opened his eyes and winked.
“That’s just the wind!” The businessman said in a huff. He walked away, apologizing to whomever was on the phone.
“Maybe,” Grandpa whispered, “only special people can hear it.”
He took Sylvia’s hand and led her to the other side of the tree. “This tree is singing about everything it has seen. It was here before the town was built, and has watched generations of people live their lives. It has stood over every parade down Main Street. This tree has seen people go on adventures and fall in love.” He pointed to a faint heart carved in the bark with, his and Grandma’s initials scratched inside. “Trees sing the song of time, the words are written in their cores. They protect, provide, and proceed even after we have gone.”
Sylvia gently traced the heart with her fingers. “I’m one of the special people who can hear trees sing?”
“I know you are,” Grandpa said, “because ‘Sylvia’ means ‘of the trees.’”
By Elizabeth Fust