Dead Pine

Roger awoke ten minutes before his alarm was set to go off, just as he had everyday for the last twelve years. Today is significant for him because it is October 23rd. His mother was born on this day seventy-three years ago.

Seventy-three years. Roger pauses in thought with an attempt to understand the span of seventy-three years. World War II had just ended before she was born. However, she was ten at the start of the Vietnam war. His mother turned thirty, five months after it’s end.

Roger knelt in front of her grave to trim the wild flower bunch he’d planted there after the funeral party left the day of her burial. His mother started at the University of Midwest Chambana in 1964. He wondered if she’d hopped on the pot-smoking protester bandwagon. Or, did she keep her head down and nose to the books?

There was a forty foot pine about thirty yards from the plot his mother had been laid to rest. Roger loved the strength and stability of the tree. It acted as a foretelling of strength to come. Now that Roger was alone in the world, that strength was needed more than ever.

Fear struck Roger to the bone when he arrived at his mother’s resting plot to find his sacred tree, her guardian, had died over night. When he glanced up from his prayer hands, folded over his bent knee, and noticed the tree, his heart skipped a beat. “What is this tree trying to tell me,” he asked.

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