Why Do You Weep, Willow?

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.”

“Yes.”

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.”