Thirty miles from where you grew up is a small town you’ve heard of but never visited. In that town stands a modest home on a corner lot with no fence. On that lot grow two trees. One of which is leafed and fruitful. The other is crowding the stop sign, surrendering to disease and will soon be removed and chipped. One tree provides damp plum shade. In the long shadows, of the short sunset, the other waves goodbye with its pale golden leaves, to the passing day, the sneaking cat, and the pedaling child, but most likely itself, knowing that this day may be the last day it sees its silhouette stretch across the grass, the sidewalk, the gutter, the pavement. Knowing it may only have one more chance to blow kisses of sunlight to the black earth it stands in, the green grass it sways with, and shivers with and plays with. Occasionally the sound of urethane wheels clacketing down the sidewalk reminds the trees of a dark haired youth who used to push a mower around the base of their trunks. Though trees never forget, they hardly learn anything either. Talk of studies in California mean little to them. Places, states, oceans, other neighborhoods mean even less. And to a boy- grown up and moved out and on- what does a tree mean? It means sandboxes and sunburns. Watermelons and snow shovels. Flowerbeds and black eyes. It means first kisses and late night summer conversations about stars and power lines. It means daddy long legs and crickets and swamp frogs smaller than matchbooks. These are the things trees remember. This is where my stories live and die- a ring for each one.