My parents keep telling me the tree on the back acreage is an elder tree. They insist. But it’s not – it’s an oak or something. It doesn’t look anything like an elder tree.
They also say it’s a memorial for my great-grandfather. Grandfather used to go out and talk to it almost every day. Mom and Dad come out sometimes too, but they usually just stare at the tree.
Dad and Uncle David helped Grandfather out to the tree today. He can’t walk by himself anymore and Mom says he’ll probably join Grandmother soon.
I’ll miss him.
Grandfather passed on today. The family is planning a memorial service, but no funeral, and Mom won’t tell me where he’s going to be buried. She says I’ll understand soon.
Mom, Dad, and I walked out to the back acreage today. A sturdy sapling stands next to the elder tree. Mom and Dad stayed back, just looking at the trees.
Curiosity drew me forward toward the two trees. The sapling was planted in a small hummock of freshly turned dirt. I turned to look at the elder tree. At that angle, the whorls in the bark almost seemed to form a smiling face.
I looked back at the sapling. It was just barely visible, but there was a faint face in its bark too.
I understood then.
There are two elder trees now. And I think I’ll be visiting the back acreage more often.