This is The Big Tree. It is called The Big Tree because it used to be paired with a smaller version of the same kind. The Little Tree, which was not very little at all, succumbed to a disease that The Big Tree resisted with ease. My father keeps expecting The Big Tree to die but every spring he is bitterly disappointed when it forms new buds. This Tree is my favorite place in my childhood home. How can that be? When you spend your childhood going outside to escape the inside of your house it definitely feels like home.
The inside of the house is cramped and cluttered and it seems no matter where you turn there is someone else there. Always. Everyday. No matter what you want to do, you are going to have to move something or clean something or interrupt someone in order to do it. It is hot and sticky in the summer and the porch was enclosed but still somehow too sunny and unbearably hot as well. The outside is almost always better. The Big Tree was base for every game we could think of and it was just a place to sit when you did not want to think of anything at all. It was cool in its shade and its root twists and nudges its way under the pavement forming a perfect place for a child to sit.
It is a landmark in the most basic sense of the word. It instantly evokes personal histories for the people in our family and neighborhood who spent hours at a time lingering under it. It will be that much harder to recall our memories when it is gone. That is why every spring I am thrilled that it is still alive. That is why I still occasionally sit underneath it.