Weeping Willow: Sometimes it’s just good to smile

charles loveAs a young boy, we lived on a farm where I could run free, sometimes into the woods. These woods bordered our farm, and I often found a place that was quiet and serene.

I was not afraid, you know, of snakes, lizards, wild animals and all the things that you would think was in the woods that could possible do harm. You see, I was a child with a vivid imagination and while in the woods I found my quite place.

This place was always where almost no one knew where I was, because I did not want to be disturbed. Seeking quietness, I would find a tree to hide from the heat of the day. It was a weeping willow and it had these long flowing limbs that almost always seem to find a breeze.

Under that willow tree, I would find an opening that revealed the sky. I would look at the sky on a clear beautiful day and sometimes there would be clouds that would drift across the sky like white paint on a blue canvas. When I would peer at the sky through the upper part of the tree, I would use the openings between limbs as a picture frame to spark my mind as the puffy clouds drifted by.

With my imagination, I would describe what each cloud reminded me of as it passed the frame of the tree limbs. Sometimes it would be a man on a horse, because I loved horses. My grandpa had some mules that I would sneak and ride when he didn’t know; I loved to ride horses. Then sometimes in the clouds, I would see a man on a motorcycle riding fast across the sky. I loved motorcycles. Then, I would see some of the most extraordinary things like angels, because my grandma told me that the angels keep watching over me; I especially loved angels.

We left the farm and my willow tree in the woods. Where we moved, there was another willow tree, on the corner of our yard near our house.

This tree also had these long flowing limbs that were thick and came all the way to the ground like rain. In order to get underneath this tree, you had to part the limbs; they still seemed to find a breeze and it was always cool. Even though this tree was on the corner of our yard, it went largely unnoticed.

It sometimes seemed that the only attention this tree got was when I had done some mischief and was ordered to find the best weapon to pay the consequences of my behavior. However, these long drifting limbs seemed to me to be a good place to be alone and dream.

So, I found a place under this weeping willow, and found an opening to the sky and again used my imagination.

The limbs of this tree hid me while I dreamed of the day that I would become someone who could change the world, not worrying about finding a good switch to suffer consequences. I would lay there peering through the openings framed by the limbs and see horses, motorcycles, mountains and yes, even angels.

I loved hiding under that weeping willow; and even though it was not in some lonely place in the middle of the dangers of the woods, I always felt safe and free to dream underneath that weeping willow.

There is a song that says “You look so much better when you smile.” In life, through all the troubles we face — mass shootings, terrorism, political chaos, our families — find an opening to the sky in the middle of it all. Use your imagination and take the time to dream where all this danger exists; find the time to smile. You look so much better.

Happy Holidays.

Charles Love is co-chair of the North Rome Community Action Committee and a former officer of the Urban League of the Southeast U.S. He writes for the website MOVE GEORGIA FORWARD. Readers may contact him at MoveGeorgiaForward@gmail.com.

 

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