I grew up under a willow tree, in a small town on a corner lot. Okay, there was a house too, but I loved that willow tree. It was part of my childhood home. I climbed it, daydreamed in it, and slept out overnight under its branches. It was the back stop of neighborhood softball and kickball games, the starting point of our croquet matches, and someplace to hide when I was mad or sad.
Willow trees are messy. It’s true. They have little leaves that confound a rake, skinny, limber branches that wrap themselves around lawn mower blades, and if your tree is healthy, her beautiful weeping branches will drag on the ground which is “not good for the grass” as my dad would say. But I loved her.
My love of our willow tree gave me an appreciation of other willow trees. Willow Creek Golf Course had many beautiful willow trees. My sister worked in the pro-shop and I remember going there with her. (Was it really okay back in the day to bring your little sister to work with you?) I would eat Jiffy Pop, play with the resident cats, and hide under the lovely, fluttering willow branches.
Our neighbors down the street, had the largest, most beautiful willow tree in town. Their yard backed up to ‘the creek’ which I’m sure contributed to her beauty and longevity. In later years, I took note of a boyfriend’s neighbor who had a pond and a large group of willow trees. I dreamed of buying that house someday when I was grown and married.
Willow trees seek water. It’s what they do. They’re thirsty. They’re trying to make beautiful weeping branches and leaves. I know our Willow and her creeping roots caused my dad some stress and financial damage. I was not privy to all the gory details since I was just a kid, but I know we had to have our sewer lines replaced from the house to the road. I think of that as the beginning of her end. Although she survived for ten plus years after that, she never really looked quite the same. However, a quick modern day google search informs me that in any case, willows are not long for this world. They are a short-lived tree and may only get to be 20 to 30 years old. Some may live to 50 with tender loving care. I think we could have done better by Willow, but I wasn’t running the show.
There are willow trees and wiener dogs in my heaven. I made this declaration after I read The Lovely Bones and Susie Salmon would describe her heaven in great detail. Sometimes on stressful days, I close my eyes for a few minutes, take deep breaths and visualize a warm sunny day with a babbling brook, willow trees and lots of dogs (not just wieners). And I’ve actually decided to become a willow tree. Have you heard of this? You can have your cremains interred in a “living urn” which is a tree memorial. How fabulous is this?! And very green. When I first heard of the idea, willow trees were not offered as one of the tree options, but I knew it was only a matter of time, and now they’re available!
So take note, oh child of mine. When I die, I wish to be a willow tree. Here’s a handy link.
Oh, and plant me near some water.