TITLE: My Friend, The Tree
By Arlene Showalter
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I have a good friend, who just happens to be a tree. A beautiful, well-established oak located in my father’s hometown of Toronto, Ohio. This picturesque village is situated on a bend in the Ohio River.
I came across this tree during a stroll through the town. While enjoying the lovely Victorian homes lining River Avenue, I spotted it standing tall on the bluff. I paused to rest under its sheltering branches.
Soon I made a point of stopping by this tree to gaze at the river below us and muse on life. I had recently moved to Toronto as a young bride full of youth’s innocence. The tree stood majestic and silent as I observed the many boats passing by. Some sparkled with fresh, white paint. Others appeared travel-stained and weary. Aloud I pondered how the boats were like life, sometimes happy, sometimes sad. The oak’s leaves rustled in agreement.
My new friend had herself lived through many storms. She’d grown gnarled, yet strong. Her branches had thickened, offering increasing shelter with each passing year.
As life’s storms began hit me, I often ran to my tree to sort out confusion and grief. I needed her serene comfort. She was always standing guard at her post. She never complained about my need to share so many joys and sorrows.
How I trusted my friend, the tree. As I bared my soul she never judged me. Always constant, always true, she offered only protection and companionship through both sunshine and rain.
The faithfulness of my friend endowed me with great strength. I knew she would always be there, no matter what I did or where I went in life. Sometimes life occupied so much of my time I neglected my friend. Eventually I made my way back, and again we would stand side by side, watching the river of life flow by.
The years have passed. I have moved on to another town in another state. Yet, my friend remains. Her constancy gives my spirit much comfort and peace. And like my friend, I too have grown gnarled from life. I too have grown strong. I too, seek to shelter others, without bias, in their times of need.
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