The Willow Tree

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Author: Jessica H. of Sebastopol, CA
(no photos available for this story - use your imagination!)

When I was six years old, my grandparents lived in a house at the end of a cul de sac.  In my child’s eyes, their yard was beautiful: white alyssum lined the walk; juniper inhabited the planters; snapdragons provided color around the windows; red pyracantha and poisonous blue berries whose juice I could use to write my name on the pavement flanked the garage – the whole yard a Sunset magazine story waiting to be published.   My favorite, though was the gigantic weeping willow on the front lawn.  I loved the way it looked, relaxed and swaying, leaves blanketing the lawn. 

After my grandfather died, my grandmother, whom I viewed as a master gardener (she subscribed to Sunset, after all), moved into a small home, and eventually passed as well.  As a young adult, I made it a goal to own enough land to plant a willow like the one from my childhood both as an homage to my grandparents and because of their majestic beauty.  I eventually moved to West County, bought sizable land, deciding a willow would be perfect in the back corner.   Uses for the land though, have been for: a wedding, several graduation parties, numerous Halloween parties, and we’ve built an enormous pirate ship on the property just because we could.  Since the ship is still standing, the willow has had to wait.

Over the summer, I visited my father in his home’s modest backyard.  (His parents had owned the original willow tree, and his brother owns a nursery in Washington state.)  My father produced two potted cuttings from a pruned tree and asked if I wanted them.  I asked where they were from, and he said my uncle had taken a clipping of the original willow tree and planted it in the backyard years ago (my grandmother owned the house before my father.)  With overwhelming emotion, I accepted the cuttings with the hope that I can plant one soon after the frost.