He remembered that it was a handsome tree.

As he drove alone towards the town of his childhood, he remembered that it was a beautiful tree. Actually he thought to himself as he sipped the tepid bitter coffee from his ineffective old thermos flask, beautiful wasn’t quite the right word. It was a handsome tree, more like a Carey Grant or Mel Gibson of a tree.

It was a behemoth that demanded people take notice of it. There was even a track worn beside it where cars regularly pulled over and curious occupants alighted from within to walk around in its magnificent presence. It was so majestic that it acted like a magnet to those who could appreciate nature at its resonant best.

It was a stunning tree. Not just in its perfect symmetry but also in its verdant healthy vigour. Somehow the air felt different underneath its giant arching branches and the bright light of the sun was reduced to near darkness under the sheer mass of its canopy. It created its own environment such was its size and splendour. Pungent and sweet aromas of the earth and leaves; wood and flowers assaulted the olfactory senses.

Climbing and simply being near that tree with his friends had always been a safe and fond and enduring memory of his childhood.

He stopped his car and looked at the magical tree of his youth. He looked at it now and could only manage a wry smile; a smile that turned into a sad frown then a resigned grimace. He closed the car door and walked closer to the tree formerly described as handsome. He sat down on the ground under the tree in its patchy shadows and felt the sticky heat of the humid day envelop him.

Everything was old. His knees, his eyes, his shiny dome and his giblets. He couldn’t believe that his tree had also succumbed to such a banal mortal fate. He sat there till the darkness came. He sat there and relived his life and a thousand others that had been touched by his weary old friend. When he felt the cooler air settle on his shoulders and saw the stars glitter above in the black sky, he said his final goodbye and drove away.

He remembered that it was a handsome tree.

Rex Inkpen

Joined January 2009

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