MY BROTHER LIKED DIGGING HOLES, and the summer before he died he dug one for an apple tree that I see every day through a window in my office. Thanks to the tree, it is the one hole he dug that has not been filled in and forgotten.
By the side of an old dirt road in the woods is a big maple tree that is so nearly hollow that three children can get into it together and still have wiggle room. Year after year it puts out a canopy of leaves even so, and a friend of mine once said, "If that tree can keep on doing that in the shape it's in, then there's hope for all of us." So we named it the Hope Tree.
Sycamore, willow, catalpa, ash—who knows what their true names are? We know only that they are most beautiful in the fall when they are dying. They are craziest when the wind is blowing. In the snow they are holiest.
Maybe what is most precious about them is their silence. Maybe what is most touching about them is the way they reach out to us as we pass.
-Originally published in Beyond Words