“Why does the willow weep?” the girl asked her mother, blue eyes shining with curiosity. Her mother’s lips curved into a knowing grin and looked to the tree, as if visiting a distant memory. The girl looked to the tree as well, eager for an answer to her question. The girl tugged lightly at her mother’s hand hanging at her side. “Is it sad, mommy?”
The mother knelt to her daughter’s height and brushed light-brown bangs back from the round face of her child. Nodding, she replied, “Yes my dear, the willow is sad. And that is why it weeps.”
The girl furrowed her brow and looked to the tree, then back to her mother, “But why is it sad?”
Her mother smiled gently and used her hand to point at her daughter’s small feet, “What are these?”
The girl looked down, confusion clouding her features. “Feet,” she replied hesitantly.
Her mother nodded in approval, and then motioned with her hand to the grand tree before them, “Does a tree have feet?”
Her daughter laughed at the question, grinning as she replied, “No, that’s silly, mommy!”
The mother chuckled lightly and continued, “Yes, it is a silly idea for a tree to have feet, but think about what it means to have roots instead of feet.”
The girl’s smile faded as she stared at the leaves swaying in the gentle breeze. She was silent as the gears of her mind turned, processing.
Her mother’s voice accompanied her thoughts, “The tree cannot leave this place. Its roots bind it to this spot. Creatures may come to enjoy the shelter it provides, but the tree can never leave with them.”
The girl’s face remained serious, and she began to move forward, approaching the tree. She stopped at the enormous bough, staring at the creviced pattern within the bark. Reaching her arms out as far as she could to each side, she pressed her cheek against the rough skin of the wood and embraced the trunk. Her small wingspan didn’t encompass the circumference of the willow, but her mother smiled at the attempted hug.
Glancing back at her mother, still gripping the tree, the girl raised her voice and proclaimed, “I love this tree! And I will always stop to give it a hug so it can feel happy.”
The mother strode to join her daughter among the green, hanging leaves, she leaned to hug a section of the trunk above the girl. She glanced down at the blue eyes staring up at her, smiled and said, “I think I will do that, too. How lucky I am to have such a thoughtful daughter.”
The girl and the mother grinned at one another, and the weeping willow ceased sadness for that moment in the magical embrace.
Inktober 2016: Sad