Yards from my house an old willow tree stands, watching.
A tree wiser than I am, and older by many years.
It has looked on quietly, watching as I grew.
It looked down on me when I first visited its home in the park,
A small girl who wanted lollies shaped like rockets,
Rides on her uncle Charlie’s scooter, flip flops and lucozade.
It looked on as I rode out proudly on a skewbald beach pony,
Or pulled a trolley full of books, towels, swimsuits and kites,
Walking silently next to my mother on the way to the beach.
It shared my happiness as I moved into my little old house,
A house I had told my mother I would never never choose,
And smiled to see me there, just out of reach, no longer a visitor.
It watched as I sat on the grass beneath it, learning lines for a play
With someone who opened up my heart and allowed me to love
And it saw me walk past aimlessly, blindly, when he was gone.
It took my hand as I scribbled notes for reports in the summer sun,
And made plans for school plays, treats, trips and holidays,
Rushing at life eagerly, like a new leaf unfurling.
It winced, sharing my pain as I faced loss, confusion and grief
And it sheltered me while I found new strength and purpose
In holding onto the lead of the most beautiful dog who has ever crossed its path.
Now it stands beside me as I keep on keeping on,
Clinging to what little wisdom the years have brought.
It has no words and none are needed.