A long time ago, in a very small town not far from here, a young boy and his family moved to a new project, close to where his father taught English in High School. The house, a modest bungalow, was at the very end of a dead end street. Behind the property was a creek, followed by dense forest. To the right of the property was much the of the same.
This was the playground for the boy and his older sister. Not far up the path from the house grew a large maple tree. Directly below the lowest branch, a stump sat, as though though to proffer a step for young Tarzan and Jane to reach the solace of their tree house. Not far from there, an old, enormous moss covered log provided shelter from the elements and indians (Ah the good old days before political correctness) as the brave cowboys (even the girls were cowboys back then) rested during their escapades.
Years later, the town became more popular. Lots along the street that one stood vacant were now being cleared. One such lot was between two houses on the other side of the street. The boy, who at the time had no one with which to play in the treehouse or the shelter, decided to go to see what had been done. Stone had been blasted. Trees cut. Land cleared. On the stone the boy found a small pine. It was inches tall, the needles had browned, and had damaged roots.
"Mom, can I plant this in the yard?" the boy asked his mother.
"Oh, I don't think it will live son." she replies
"Oh yes it will, I will make it."
The mother agreed to allow the son to plant the tree, behind the house, just on the other side of the creek. The boy would always check on the tree, giving it water.
One day, progress came to visit
The boy was now in early high school. And the town more popular. One day he came home to find bulldozers. And surveyors. Over the course of that year, the forest to the side of the house was cleared. The maple was cut down. The old log cleared out. Consigned to the memory of two young teenagers. The street was extended, and houses planted in proud rows down either side.
This wasn't enough. More people came to the town looking for houses. During the years that followed, even the creek and forrest behind the house were removed to make way for the urban landscape.
In the lot built behind his family's house stood a 15 foot pine tree. Green, healthy and proud. The boy suspected that his father asked the new neighbours to keep that tree. The one his son planted.
Today, July 13th, 2001, the boy's tree, my tree, stands at over 35 feet tall. Proud that it had defied the mother's premonition.
It is the only tree in their yard. The last of its kind. The only survivor.