As I sat under the willow tree I stared up wondering why the willow’s leaves fell down as if they were wilting. The other trees burst upward, reaching for the sky, unlike this one.
Why does this one weep? I thought.
As a eight-year-old full of questions and not afraid of rejection, I looked at the tree and asked, “Why do you weep, willow?”
As I waited in silence I took in the green grass that swayed in the gentle summer breeze. I looked for jumping fish in the pond to the right. I saw baby birds as they chirped for the worm dangling in front of them. That’s when I heard the soothing, whispering sound coming from the tree that I rested against.
Turning around, I saw no one.
“For many reasons.” Said the voice.
As I looked around confused, my eyes returned to the tree where its trunk molded into a figure. The long dangling branches appeared to be hair. The leaves whisping around what looked to be ahead, then a body and two large branches that stemmed off as arms.
Her eyes, brown, reflected the green from her hair. What had been two knots in the wood had morphed into eyes. Her lips, a light brown, did not frown as the leaves did.
“What?” I asked, unsure if it was my imagination or reality.
“You asked me why I weep, did you not?” She asked in a gentle yet stern voice.
“I- I didn’t think you were alive.”
“You assume what many others do. However, not many have the courage to ask.”
“Well… then why do you weep?”
“For many reasons.”
I knew this already and was eager for more information.
“You already said that.”
Clearly, I had been dreaming because this conversation wasn’t going anywhere. I pinched myself to wake up. But, she was still there when I opened my eyes.
“What’s one of the reasons?”
“Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you.”
Before I could reply I watched as the tree transformed back to its original shape. Having seen the woman, I could still make out her shape, her eyes, and mouth, but she was now still and frozen.
I walked away, unsure about whether or not to return.
“You’ve come back” She said as I came upon her low-hanging leaves.
“I want to know why you weep.”
“I weep for the beauty my Creator has given.”
“Why would you cry because something is beautiful? Isn’t that a good thing?” I asked.
“Not all who weep are sad.”
I looked at her, eyes squinted. All I had ever seen were sad tears, what other kinds could there be?
“You are not limited to sadness when you weep.”
“I’m always sad when I cry.” I responded.
“Yes, only because you have not felt a pure joy that only the Creator can bring you. Find this, and you will weep as I do.”
“How do you find the Creator?”
“Right in front of you.” She said as one of her long thin branches stretched out revealing the hills, the pond, the tall wildflowers swaying, and the birds flying in and out of them. “But also in here.” She said as one of her branches pointed to my chest.”
I looked down where one of the leaves touched the skin that covered my heart.
“How could something that makes you so happy you weep, live in me? I am not beautiful enough to make you weep.”
“But you are.”
“The Creator Himself.”
With that, she transformed once again back to the tree.
I never saw her again but visited the tree often. I began to see the beauty she once told me of.
I began to weep and for the first time in my life, I understood why the willow wept as she did.