I once fell in love with a tree. I celebrated its beauty, dancing among the brilliant colors of gold, green, yellow and red of its leaves, when the first snowflake fell. I took no note of the gathering gray clouds. Though I shivered, I ignored the cold. Dancing made my heart beat faster, adrenaline rush through my veins, and endorphins brought a sense of euphoria; a semblance of happiness. The snowflake landed on my lashes, melted from my body heat and ran down my cheek; the first of many tears to follow.
The air grew frigid, the skies darkened, and I watched as the leaves fell from the beautiful tree, the object of my desire, the tall glorious symbol of my admiration. Helpless to stop the winter storm, I became lost in despair, numb because the pain overwhelmed me, and frozen in fear as a statue. Before the last of my body crystallized into ice, I watched the last leaf fall, flutter through the air as if carefree, and come to rest on the cold, hard ground. As it touched the earth, my heart stopped beating as I entered winter.
The snow fell and its accumulation slowly buried me with my gaze locked onto my tree, for it no longer bore any fruit. Surrounding it, stood other lifeless, fruitless, leafless trees, and my tree reveled in their company. Its bony limbs served as a constant reminder of the loss of its glorious leaves. Though I knew my tree, it no longer resembled the beauty it once exuded. My mind’s eye remembered, and a small hope remained my tree would return to me. But as the fierce winter winds blew, my fractured heart remained frozen; broken.
Believing the winter would never end, I finally forced my eyelids closed and the vision of my tree disappeared with one last icicled tear. I tuned out all feeling, all sound, all senses, and embraced the darkness; I died inside.
A warm wind blew, bringing a soft musical note with it, disturbing my cold, silent grave. My ears followed the sound, though distant, muffled, and strange. Desolation sharpened my ears, and a desperate need to hear again filled me. Too afraid to open my eyes and gaze upon my tree, I feared the notes came from it, but it did not, they resounded all around me. Some came from the left, some from the right, many from behind, their notes soft, beautiful and full of hope.
I tried to shut them out, but they kept playing their song, one after another, sometimes blended together, and sometimes all at once. I felt the ice that covered me begin to crackle and split, and I heard the constant drip, drip, drip below me, adding tempo to the melody. Then I silently screamed in pain as my heart shuddered and let out the first beat.
I felt the shards of ice fall away from my eyes and as fear rushed through me, I opened my statue eyes. There stood my tree, its bare limbs full of new buds, ready to bloom, surrounded by dozens of others ready to dance before its beauty. My heart skipped a beat at the possibility of greatness my tree could be, but only one beat.
Something else grabbed my attention – a song, a familiar sound, a beautiful melody. My eyes unfocused on the tree and with great effort, I turned my gaze away, and shook out of my icy shell. Flying all around me were song birds of spring, reveling in the warm sun shining down upon me. Their harmonies and melodies filled my heart and for the first time, after a long winter, with the greeting of the equinox, I smiled.
My song birds called to me, their music mending me, filling me with new life, and healing the hole of my despair. I glanced back over my shoulder at the tree and released one last tear. As I wiped it away from my cheek, I turned away, and once again began to dance.