They are going to murder my favorite tree in a couple of months and I’m absolutely devastated.
I’m talking about the kind of devastation that has me crying so hard on my commute that drivers in the cars around me get uncomfortable if they catch my eye.
'Willow Smith' and I have been buddies for nine and a half years. We were brought together when my agency moved its offices from Northbrook to Mount Prospect. The physical move took place during my maternity leave, so I returned to work with a whole new life from sunup to sundown. Change is not always easy for me, but the view from my office window endeared me to the new digs almost immediately.
From the beginning, Willow has been an anchor for my wild and fidgety heart. By definition, anchors keep ships from floating away, so thank God she's been there. Several emotional typhoons have blown across my emotional landscape in the last couple of years. There have been some crazy-ass changes happening aboard an already crazy-ass ship, but Willow always had my back.
I have loved taking pictures of my tree. Each season casts such beautiful filters across Willow - and she was always up for posing. When I bought a film camera to better understand the exposure triangle, the first thing I took pictures of was my best weeping willow.
But progress happens, sometimes even at Illinois non-profits. We need to expand our parking lot and the landscape engineers say we have to sacrifice Willow to make it happen. I’m a card-carrying snowflake, but it looks like I need to apply for my tree-hugger license because my heart aches like I’m losing a friend.
I believe that any sentient being can love any other sentient being if there’s an intention for connection, and I have fallen in love with this damn tree.
After surrendering to the imminence of the chainsaw, I began asking around to see if maybe there was such thing as a Weeping Willow Rescue? Maybe I could save my tree from the executioner's blade!
The good news was that tree relocation services are a thing!
The bad news was that it would probably cost about $5000-$6000. I briefly considered a GoFundMe campaign despite how crappy the optics would look: raising funds to save a weeping willow outside of a severely underfunded non-profit agency that serves the needs of adults with disabilities? Mmmkay...
But the worst news was yet to come: because of the size of her root system, the transfer would probably send Willow into shock. A move would most likely kill her.
In the Lifetime movie version of my life, I feel like this tree murder would be the last straw for me (as played by Nancy McKeon from Facts of Life fame) I/she would be standing by the window watching the executioners tear down the beloved tree. I/She would turn away from the window, put on my/her coat, and walk out of the building for the last time. I/She would drive home in silence, take the dusty manuscript off the top shelf in my/her closet, and reinvent herself as the author she always knew herself to be in her heart of hearts.
In the Lifetime version, I/she would write children’s pictures books. The name of her first series?
In the first book of the series, the young protagonist (Nancy?) would learn that her favorite tree is about to be killed. Nancy would grow desperate to save her giant friend, but as a young girl with few resources, the task would seem overwhelming.
When relocation proves to be too expensive for the little girl’s weekly allowance, the bad men come to take the tree away. But before they destroy her friend, she asks one of the workers to cut off a branch for her to keep - one a couple inches in diameter, nothing huge.
Nancy would take it home and place it in a 5-gallon water bucket. She would keep the bucket in the sun for a few weeks - like a pet. She would talk and sing to the branch just like she did for Ms. Willow.
Then to Nancy’s great surprise, the branch would begin to sprout roots! Nancy would end up replanting the baby willow in a new location. Ms. Willow lives!
Hmmm…maybe I’ll just cut off one of Ms. Willow's branches, put it in a bucket of water, then write and send the Ms. Willow and Me manuscript to children's book publishers.
Thanks for the memories, Willow Smith. I love you.
That's my piece and that's my peace. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my silly words. It truly means the world to me. Carry on...