She is 11 years old and loves to drive. In fact, she asks for a golf cart every time a birthday or Christmas comes around. She’s a good driver and watching her smile is the best thing about riding with her. I rode with my nephews when they were kids, and taking a spin with her brings to mind all of those fun times.
The Gator belongs to my parents, so we took off from their house. Then, we went into a neighborhood behind their farm. The neighborhood is filled mostly with older people who have been living there for decades. It has large lawns that are neatly kept, and, as we drove, I noticed a few people in their yards.
One man was on his mower. His next door neighbor was checking his driveway that had just been paved. A lady was watering her plants, and another lady was on her way to do the same thing. At another house, a brother and sister, who were probably visiting their grandparents, were playing basketball. I waved at them all, and a few of them waved back.
The people were interesting, but I noticed something else when we went into another part of the neighborhood. In one yard, a large tree stood. It was perfectly shaped, and the yard around it was perfectly kept. Obviously, the people who own the land around the tree take great care of it and noticing this made me begin to wonder. Did they plant the tree, or was it there when the house was built? Have they lived there long enough to watch it grow to its current majesty? Have they helped it along?
I began to think about a tree in the yard where I grew up. There was a notch in it that fascinated me. It had this strange shape and stuck out far enough that I could almost use it as a seat. When we played backyard football, that tree served as the goal line. Making it to the tree meant I had scored a touchdown. The notch that I tried to sit on is now over my head. The tree grew along with me and stood watch over my family.
It saw me ride a minibike as a kid and drive a car when I turned 16. It saw my dad walk up and down the driveway to get his mobility back after a stroke. It watched my mom work in the yard. It guarded my brother as he and his friends played basketball in the driveway. Heck, it watched my dad hit free throw after free throw as he beat me at H-O-R-S-E. I guess you could say that the tree and the other trees in the yard witnessed our family history.
Trees are like that. They have stood as sentinels over the events of our past. My parents now live on a site that used to be a hotel. When I walk through their yard, I wonder about all of the different things that have taken place under their shade. In the Victorian Era, they saw hotel guests strolling underneath and while other played croquet in their shade. They saw the hotel burn and remained as my parents built their home. They also served as decor for our wedding reception, and I bet that was not the first wedding that took place around them.
I am not sure what made me think of all this, but something hit me while we rode the Gator. People and trees grow old, but the trees last longer than we do. They are there for us, but they are also there for past and future generations. I have never considered myself an environmentalist and do not get overly wrought when I see a load of logs go down the interstate. However, when the trees that I have grown up with go away something in me goes away as well. I bet the people we past by this afternoon feel the same way.