If I were a tree I would have a wild head of hair, my branches growing in every direction – up, down, all askew. My trunk would have white bark, pure white bark, with large black gnarls where lower branches had broken off in the windstorms that coursed through our valley. Other trees of my kind would gather around and we’d form a circle, our thin, outer branches touching in the slightest breeze.
In summer, my leaves would weave a green screen and offer a shady spot for any passersby: a child, a fox, a pheasant, or a fairy. On one arm, I’d hold a long rope threaded through two sides of a wooden slat that would dangle invitingly. That swing would strong enough to hold a child or a good-sized adult, anyone who might want to wheel out of reach or be lifted high for a different view of the valley.
I’d be as plain as a tree could be, with no fruit or blossoms. But if you looked in my direction, you’d certainly notice me. My branches would spindle out tall, thick, and wide, all around, but one side, the wounded side. That side of my trunk, the one that faced the river, would be stripped bare where a giant had circled my trunk with his thick arms and cried away his heartbreak for an entire spring and summer. Only the fairies singing their sweet melodies would console him, while the earth absorbed his sorrowful tears and wove a carpet of green to restore our spirits.
No matter that I would be anchored to a singular place on the bank of a river. I would send my roots deep and reach my branches high, keeping a firm foundation and yet bending to the elements.