We have lived in the same area for the past 29 years and know every inch of the countryside. We have roamed up and down all of the dirt roads and watched as the fields change through the seasons. We have watched the tractors till the fields and get them ready for the planting. We have watched the corn or the soybeans start sprouting and growing. The corn has grown so high we couldn’t see the farm-house. The soybeans turn a wonderful shade of green in the summer that changes when the wind blows through the field, making it look like an ocean of green waves. We have enjoyed watching the harvesters come through the fields and fill the waiting trucks – watching the corn or soybeans spill out of the pipes into empty trucks. We’ve watched as the cornstalks and bean fields are cut down and readied for winter. The fields are then covered with snow and await the cycle which will begin in the spring.
We have also watched dirt roads paved and houses built where corn used to grow. We have watched as parking lots take over our seas of soybeans. Our fields have been replaced by business parks, stores and even baseball stadiums. We have watched old farmhouses with all of their memories torn down and replaced by a gas station or a fast food restaurant. We have seen the city creep closer and closer to our home which used to be a small subdivision just outside the city – and which is now well within the confines of the sprawl of homes and businesses.
Through all of this there has been one steady friend who has greeted us every season, to whom we look forward to seeing whenever we drive through the area. No matter what was going on, we could count on spotting our friend on the side of the road with his arms reaching to the sky. He grew older over the years and we saw that he was beginning to take on the visage of a gnarled old man — but he was still in his prime and had many more years ahead of him – or so we thought. Sometimes disease takes our friends from us when we least expect it – and so it was with our friend. He succumbed to a disease which has taken many of his friends and it is just a matter of time before we will no longer see him.
We will miss our dear friend – he has been a constant reminder of the beauty in this world and how much joy we have in our lives. Our children have grown up waving at him every time we passed him on the road – and although they may not miss him right away — they will wonder what is missing when they drive that road in the future. But, my hubby and I will remember our old friend – a Douglas Fir that grew old with us and our family. We will miss him and his beauty – but we will remember what he taught us — that there is beauty in everything around us – sometimes in something as simple as a tree along the side of the road.