Posted by: 2russ | June 23, 2017

Willow Weep For Me

July

I do not know why I thought of this except for two reasons: One July, and the other is the song: Willow Weep For Me.
I did not want this to go unsaid. So, I write it while listening to a set of Wes Montgomery jazz guitar albums, one of which is titled Willow. And it has the title track with him.
With hours of free time, I write.
When I was growing up we had a giant, well it turned out to be a giant – Weeping Willow tree in the back yard, toward the Tindall Road side, but before the 2 acres of what was once garden and then simply lawn.
Each summer I would take the big loppers and run around its circumference chopping off and giving a bowl cut to its hair of branches which were drooping – weeping. They were heading to the ground and I am sure, since the willow seeks water, they would have rooted and hit the water again. There was so much water there below the surface of lawn. The concrete block of the basement of the house would seep water in. There was a drain in the concrete floor, as well – of the basement.
When I was about 11, I would entertain myself. My five year older brother was 16. He worked hard at my uncle’s dairy farm, milking. Soon he had a car and was off at nights in the summers. I on the other hand had all day for games by myself.
One of my favorite was to hit a whiffle ball as hard as I could to try to hit a homer over that forty plus foot tall willow. If I made it, it was a homer. Hundreds of hits were seen by that tree. I could find the whiffle balls when they landed. Softballs worked. Hard softballs. Baseballs would likely get lost.
I loved that willow. I could trim it high and we could sit in under it. I would watch it grow back in a few weeks. I could mow in underneath when it was trimmed. I was young. I was innocent. I loved that tree. The idea that it sucked so much water intrigued me. I knew there was a reason for everything and a reason for being for everyone and everything. Each contributes just something not only of their species or genus, but also uniquely, as in where they are planted in this world, what area they are rooted in, and where they belong and what they contributed while they were there.
We soon added a screened in summer porch for sleeping on that side of the house. The tree was closer and it made that part of the house and yard a bit cooler. That tree grew enormously. When I left for college, I lost track of that tree. I do not believe it is there anymore. In fact, the creek a few hundred feet away and in lower ground looks to be much more dry. I suppose it may be to do with global warming.
But when that tree was there, it provided for me an opportunity to participate as every player in the all-star home run derby. I was every all-star. I had a barn for basketball, and I was every team and player on every college league. St John’s, and Syracuse. I had a frozen pond strewn in with the cattails in winter, and I was the NHL. I had a flat rock wall with a cinder turnaround driveway that was a baseball diamond and a rubber ball for strikes and balls and popups and homeruns. I had a barn wall with a ridge the height of a tennis net and a cut grass court that was one half the size of and was my Wimbledon. I was twelve when I got a Nehru jacket and my brother took me to Teen Canteen at Three Rivers Inn. Those were all ages dances, and on Sunday afternoons.
That was all about chasing and dancing and girls and I am sure I spoiled a lot for my brother. I was a cool little dancer then, too.
I do not think that willow ever wept for me; I think I weep now for it and its demise, and all it contributed, and all it saw. It was there when I graduated from High School and Ron, my cousin, and I had a grad bbq party in that yard. That would have been June of 1966. Late that afternoon, I had a car, and I left to go meet up with Reid and Lee and Keith and Mike and we went to Auburn to have a few beers.
It was one of our last times before we all went off to college. I worked those summers at drywall. We would go to Little Green the house in question here, (the one with the willow) and party and relax after work. And we would go to Weedsport to see what we could see. Ah, those were the days – The Glory Days.
As the song says, you Can’t Look Back, except sometimes.
No tears of sorrow just tears of joy from and for the Willow of my childhood: Willow weep no more except all you want, from the willow heaven, up in the sky you so valiantly sought – yet succumbed to, with your own weight – of your own water, only first to droop down for a little boy to take his shears and cut your boughs of tears, down to his size.
June 14, 2017
Bellingham WA.


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