The little tree didn't really know how he had come to be, he just was. He looked all around him and all he could see was tall, green grass for miles and miles. Why, he really wasn't as tall as the grass and he only had three small branches growing on his trunk. He stretched out his shiny, green needles to catch the last of the summer's sunshine and he knew deep down inside that summer was coming to an end. Soon fall would come and with that, winter wouldn't be too far behind. Just the thought of another, cold Maine winter made the little tree shiver and he gathered his branches more closely around him.
He pulled himself up as high as he could until he could see over the top of the grass and carefully looked around him. Off in the distance to the south, he could see the faint blue haze of the Streaked Mountain range. Then he turned to look in front of him and he could easily see the well-worn wagon path that the early pioneers had used as they made their way north from the small settlements that were located all along the Androscoggin River valley.
As the seasons changed, the little tree took root and began to grow. Each time it rained, he could feel the water run down his branches to form a puddle on the dry ground beneath him and as the water soaked into the soil, his thirsty roots drank it up as fast as they could because he needed water to grow.
The old farmer often came to tend his cattle and the fields and he was surprised to see the little tree growing there all alone by the wagon path. He had plowed the whole field the year before and he thought that he had plowed the little tree under too but there it was, bigger than before.
The farmer slid off his horse and walked over to where the little tree was growing and he reached down and gave it a sharp tug but the little tree didn't budge. The farmer gave the little tree a stronger pull but again the little tree stood firm. "Oh well," thought the farmer, "It's near the road and it really isn't in my way. I guess I'll just leave it here. After all, what harm can it do?"
As the years came and one slid into another, the little tree felt the coolness of the rain on a hot summer's day. He felt the freshness of the wind on a breezy spring morning. When the weather turned hot and dry, the little tree would stand up tall and shake his branches to loosen the dust from his shiny green needles. And as the years passed, the little tree grew and grew and grew.
Now, the farmer too was growing old and when he came to tend his fields, he would often stop at the tree and look up at him. Many times over the years, the farmer would tie his horses to the little tree's branches while he sat in its shade to eat his lunch. Sometimes the little tree would shake with laughter when he heard the loud snores the farmer made when he'd fallen asleep during his afternoon nap.
The little tree was no longer little, why he was taller than everything else. Now he could see all around him for miles and miles in every direction. He could see the farmer's house off in the distance and he could see all the hotels along Hotel Road too. He saw tractors and workers in the neighboring fields and he could see the huge smoke stacks of the many shoe factories across the Androscoggin River in Lewiston.
The little tree was never lonely standing there in the field all alone because now he had so many friends. Mrs. Robin used his branches to build her nest in year after year and Mr. Raccoon often climbed up into his lower branches to spend the night. Mr. Wind often visited and would blow thru his heavy, green needles to keep him cool. Mr. Moon would shine down on him all through the night and his friend, Mr. Rain, brought him a nice, cool shower every now and then. Mr. Moose, Mrs. Deer and Mr. Bear visited him from time to time too and he considered them all to be his friends.
The little tree saw so many changes take place over the years too. When he was very tiny, he heard of the terrible war going on in the south that was threatening to divide our great nation. Then, he heard about the "Great War" that had broken out in Europe and he saw all the American troops and planes leaving for Europe and the South Pacific from the Auburn Airport just down the road. Then came the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. And he cried when he learned that President Kennedy had been killed in Texas and Martin Luther King in Birmingham. He remembered Neil Armstrong, the first man to land on the moon. Why, he had seen so many changes in his long life.
Now it is two thousand and nine and little tree is little no longer, in fact, he is growing very old. Mr. Farmer has long since been laid to rest in the ground beneath Mr. Tree. All of the famous hotels along Hotel Road are now gone having been replaced by new, modern homes.
"If only I could talk!" thought Mr. Tree. "I have seen so much and I have so many tales to tell. So, if you happen to be going along Hotel Road in Auburn, Maine and you see a tall pine tree standing here all alone by the side of the road, please stop and stay awhile. I'll be waiting here for you."
Martha Stevens-David Column Magic City
Autobiography of a Simple Soul
Memories, Another Place - Another Time
Recently Republished Articles include:
The Dead Man
The Hot Flash
Childrens Stories include:
See also Vengeance is Mine a short mystery novel published at Magic City over 4 days.
All works by Martha Stevens-David published at Magic City Morning Star News are her copyright property and may not be reproduced without her permission.
M. Stevens-David 2008