We walked through the wet grass and the rain that fell was the kind that doesn’t fall all the way, just sort of drizzles around in windy droplets. It felt cold for May. We sat in white chairs on very green grass under a gray and moving sky.
They got married there, under the gray sky and the massive sycamore tree, the same place he had asked her out for the first time, the same place they had had their first kiss, and I couldn’t help but wonder about that tree. How old was it? 100 years? 200 years?
I wondered about when it had started to grow, how close it came to being trampled underfoot or overgrown by other trees. Was that area a forest when the tree was a seedling? Did anyone nearly cut it down? Had lightning ever struck close by?
Every tree, every marker in our lives, ever significant event or person or happening, is only there by the thinnest of margins, the most unlikely of occurrences. 100 years ago, no one could have looked at that tree and thought, there’s a tree someone will fall in love under. There’s a tree someone will get married under. There’s a tree where people will say, “For better or worse.” Such a solemn vow. Such a sacred covenant.
I think of these things now, as I walk under a tree or play with my children in the park or wander the city with Maile. It’s a wonder, isn’t it, how this world has been prepared for us, how the trees have been planted, maybe for hundreds of years, the very trees that will mark the passing of our lives?
There’s something humbling about it, and encouraging, this idea that the trees or the buildings or the roads that will witness our very best times have already been planted or built or straightened, and they’re all out there, waiting for us to find our way to them. Our best times are waiting for us. I find that to be a comforting thought.