When I was in second grade, we moved out of our apartment in northern Kansas City, Missouri and moved into a house in southern Kansas City. I can remember having to change schools and change friends, and I felt like my world was ending. But at the same time, I can remember being very excited about getting to have my own room and a brand-new backyard just for my sister and I to play in.
After arriving, I was amazed at how big the backyard was (or at least seemed), and right in the middle of everything was this big white pine (Pinus strobus). It was one of the most beautiful and striking trees I had ever seen. I didn’t know much about plants then, my mind a bit too young to understand the intricacies of its evolution and biology. But I knew it was tall and it was green and it made me happy.
And as we grew, the tree grew too.
Now looking back, my pine tree has become a living symbol of home. It is always there. Always growing. Now it has grown so tall that it can be seen from the front of the house. For me, it serves as a living memory of my childhood. It reminds me of the days I spent blowing bubbles beneath its branches, making huge piles to play in from its needles, and building snow igloos next to its trunk.
The pine tree was there through it all.
But now, I wonder how much longer it will resist disease and old age. How long will it survive? Will it be here longer than me? It’s hard to say. But I guess in some way it will always survive, in pictures, in memories and in my mind. For me, its memory will continue to serve as both a physical and figurative landmark for the boundless memories of my childhood.
Author: Terry Hodge