At my parents house there is a giant white oak tree. It dwarfs all the other trees around, and is the lone survivor of the virgin forests that were there before the saw mills cut them all down. Trees so big that I remember three children being able to play house in the decayed remains of their stumps.
The oak tree is so intertwined with my childhood memories that it seems like part of the family. Our homeschool was named after it; I learned death defying tricks with the rope swing that hung from one of it's branches- the same rope swing that Anna broke her arm on. My brothers and I hid secret Runic messages way up in it's branches, where only a monkey or David could climb.
Two months ago it fell. I was shocked. It felt like a death. How could something so old just die? Apparently even trees do grow old and die, but it left me feeling very sad and nostalgic.
While visiting my parents a few days ago, I got to see it for the first time since it fell. They have been cutting away at it's branches, but there is still so much tree. You just never see trees that big, down. The trunk is five feet in diameter.
While I was there, I also took a moment to look at all our hand prints in cement. We're all adults now, and married; most of us with children of our own, but it seems like just yesterday that we stuck our hand prints in the wall.