The Tree

There was this hole in my heart. Not a bullet hole or an old stab wound. It was a hole dug in the dirt, old broken roots poking out here and there. Dead leaves and moss on the top edges, becoming darker, richer as the layers went down.

I kept falling in the hole as I walked the trails of my heart. There were claw-marks where I had crawled my way out repeatedly. Eventually I got tired of falling in it. I got tired of shaking clumps of memories from my hair and cleaning them from beneath my nails. I got tired of the smudgy tears down my cheeks. I grew tired of the times I felt too tired to climb out, curled up at the bottom for hours, sometimes days. I got tired.

That hole hurt my heart. I tried to stay away. But always I was drawn towards it and in I’d fall. Over and over. I began to tire of it all.

The problem was, I wanted what used to grow in that hole. It was a beautiful tree planted long ago. At first I didn’t know what kind of tree it was. It was a tiny pathetic little sapling but I loved it. I felt connected to it. Both of us pathetic lonely creatures. But together we grew.

I nurtured it. I curled myself around its roots that first winter, so that it would not freeze. It spread its branches in an attempt to keep the cold icy flakes from my face. I loved its silvery bark. I loved its leaves in spring and summer and autumn. I loved it as it fell asleep each winter and I waited until it awoke each spring.

When it grew big enough, I climbed its branches and spent hours nestled there. We told each other stories. We sang each other songs. We taught one another about life. And love.

One morning, however, it had lifted itself right out from the ground (I know not how) and walked away. I followed its dirt trail for a while until even that had faded into the pathway. I searched, I called, I cried. I’ll never know why my love left me or how, only that it did that day.

Now I am filled with sorrow and emptiness and this damn hole. I tried to fill the hole up again as best I could for a while. I planted other trees. They did not thrive. I tried flowers and grass. They withered away. I even tried to fill the hole with raw soil. But the hole swallowed it up and no matter how much I put into it, it never filled to full.

That’s when I began to walk away. I attempted to put distance between me and the reminder of my loss. But a heart has walls and you can only go so far. Always I find my way back here and in I fall. There was this hole in my heart. And I’m not sure what to do about it.


tara caribou | ©2019

16 thoughts on “The Tree

  1. Beautifully told through a wonderfully developed metaphor, Tara. As I read this I could feel a hole opening in my own heart. The melancholy that you have evoked is a universal feeling, and that wish to revisit, to replant, is all too real. A fabulous piece.

    Liked by 1 person

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