To Sing a Song in Silence

A boy cries as he leans against me. He rails about the death of a mother, the betrayal of a father. He does not want to be here, forced into a situation he cannot understand.

I sing him a song of comfort.

He soon leaves, heartened and happier.

Years pass before I see another human soul again. When I do, it is the same sweet boy, much older. This time, he is nervous. He tells me he likes a girl, and wants to kiss her, but doesn't know how.

I sing a song of courage.

He leaves feeling brave and ready to face his fears.

Again it is years before I see the boy. The next time he visits he is no longer a boy but a man, and with him a beautiful young woman. They lie together under the shade of m y boughs and carve their names into my flesh.

I sign a song of love.

They leave in the morning full of life and laughter.

Next I see the boy after only a year. He brings a whole procession of people with him and he marries the girl whose name was carved into my very bark. They are glowing with happiness and love for one another.

I sing a song of longevity.

The young couple leaves before the others, radiant in each other's smiles.

I remain where I have always been for several more years. Then the girl and boy come again, with a little baby, and build a house in front of me. I watch it go up, brick by brick. The family moves in.

I sing a song of celebration.

I am alone no longer. I watch the children grow. They play and swing from my branches. They giggle at the names carved in my bark.

I sing a song of laughter.

The children grow up and move away. The boy and girl grow older and feebler. They spend many nights under my branches, safe from the world.

I sing a song of protectiveness.

This continues for many years. The couple is happy to be with each other. Then one night, they sleep in my shelter and do not wake up. They do not stir.

I sing a song of sadness.

The children come, unhappy and crying. They bury the boy and girl next to me and mark their graves with stones. They have children of their own, who weep against me when the burial of their grandparents is over.

I sing a song of comfort.