Rated: E · Fiction · Experience · #1753324
A short story about a man's life and the place that inspired him to live.
June 18, 1964
I sit with my back against this tree and my notepad in my hand. I always come here to brainstorm; the strong tree standing alone in the meadow. I don't know why I'm the only person who comes here to think. Maybe I'm not, but time and time again I find myself here looking for my next big idea and I have yet to meet somebody else here. This is my first time writing a diary, so I don't know what I'm doing. I'll just fill it with my thoughts I suppose.
My name is Jacob Baldwin, and I'm a writer. Well, I hope to be a writer someday. I have many pieces that I've started, and many more brewing within the depths of my mind, if I could only fish them out of that abyss. I love writing, and even if my dream of publishing my work never comes true I will continue to write. I sit and think and any and every idea that crosses my mind gets put on paper, twisted and turned, and finally grown into everything from poems and short stories to novels and diary entries.
Inspiration has struck me more often here than all other places I've been combined. I have found myself scribbling like a madman here on many occasions and in many positions; laying under the tree in the cool grass, sitting high above the ground in the uppermost branches, and often in the very position I am in now, with my back to the trunk facing the open field. I have written here in every season; enjoying the scent of freshly bloomed flowers in spring, hiding in the shade during the heat of summer, gazing at the rainbow of leaves when autumn arrives, and bundled up against the cold of winter. I will continue to look for inspiration here throughout my life, knowing that this strong tree will support me as my mind explores the unknown worlds that may end up on these pages.
February 21, 1966
I finally met another person here today. It only took 9 years for it to happen. We didn't talk much. I didn't even think to ask her name. I walked up like normal and sat with my back to the tree again, absorbed with the notes of my most recent writing endeavor. I didn't even look at the tree, so I was quite startled when she called out to me from above. I nearly dropped all my notes, but once I was sure they were secure I looked up to see her several branches above me looking down. I called back, not wanting to be rude, and she asked me what I was doing. When I told her I was working on a novel she told me that was cool and climbed down. She asked me a few questions about what kind of book it was going to be and I answered them, hoping to get a little feedback to inspire me.
After about the 4th or 5th answer she decided she had to go home for the evening. I wish I had asked her name. Maybe I'll meet her here again someday and we'll be able to talk more.
She came back. She asked my name, and when I told her she told me her name; Ella Sharpe. We are going to meet here again tomorrow to talk about my writing some more.
May 5, 1970
Hurrah! Today has been a great day. I finished the last bit of my novel. I have showed it to a very few people, and have received some good feedback. I think I'm going to take it and try to get it published. I'm so excited about finally finishing one of my major ideas, but that's just icing on the cake.
I asked Ella to marry me and she said yes! At sunset, not long ago, I asked her from the top this tree where we first met. I was so nervous that I almost dropped the ring I brought for her. So here I am, engaged and posed to become an established writer. Here's hoping that every day for the rest of my life is as perfect as this one.
April 7, 1971
I am now officially the husband of Ella Sharpe Baldwin. We got married today right here. This tree has brought me so much happiness. The day was cloudy, and I still can't imagine a day that would have been more perfect. The wind was slight and the air was cool. Our small wedding was perfect. It wasn't what most people would say was perfect, considering my cousin who was the ring-bearer dropped the ring as he handed it to me and the 2 young girls who were the flower-girls got into a short competition to see who could step harder on the other's foot. For me it was wonderful, with nothing I'll forget. I watched in awe as my new wife danced with her father. My mother and I laughed, even as she cried over losing me to my new life.
The most amazing part was my first dance with my new wife. The music started, low and slow. I reached out and took Ella's hand, leading her to the open space beneath the tree. We pulled close to each other and began to dance, and right then a slight breeze ruffled the leaves of the tree. It was almost as though it was giving us its blessing as well, whispering with it's leaves so that only we could hear. I can't imagine what else could possibly compare to this day, and I haven't even been on my honeymoon yet.
September 2, 1974
I'm saddened to be writing this today. I'm extremely happy, and yet at the same time I feel nearly depressed. This will be my last entry under this tree for quite some time. The good news is that I've finally been commissioned as a writer.
My 1st novel was published shortly after my marriage. By the time it got through editing, publishing, and shipping I was halfway done with my 2nd. I have since finished and published that novel as well. Both books were enough of a success that a writing company has hired me to write a new novel. This is wonderful, except that it means leaving this place.
The company has agreed to give me up to 4 years to create my next book, on the condition that I move closer so that they may check my progress regularly. I need the work, and it makes sense that they want a more solid connection to me so that they can ensure I fulfill my part of the contract. And so it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to this tree that has been here for me during my entire life. If there is 1 thing I promise, it is this; I will return here some day.
December 8, 2006
My heart is broken. I sit here, wondering what happened. My life has been so good. My life is still wonderful and yet my heart is broken. I came back just as I promised, only to find my best friend had been cut down. I searched for answers and discovered that someone had injured themselves falling from the tree. The fall wasn't the climber's fault. A large branch branch broke out of the tree, knocking the climber off balance and causing him to fall. In the end he had a broken arm and 3 broken ribs. The family petitioned to have the tree removed. The claim was that the tree could be hiding more dead branches like the one that knocked the climber out of the tree. As long as the tree was there it would be a temptation to children to climb, and so should be removed. The petition wasn't taken very seriously, but because the tree wasn't really a landmark or special to the town in any way, they had no reason to decline the petition.
I had hoped to find solace here, and perhaps a way to bring back good memories to ease my pain. Ever since my Ella was taken 3 years ago, I have searched for memories of better times. And so I sit here next to my son, having fulfilled my promise that I made so long ago. He and his sister are the only bindings holding my fractured heart together. I love them with all that remains of my being, and were it not for them, I think I would die of sorrow. I think my days of writing are done now, seeing as my inspiration has been cut from the land.
This was the last entry my father ever wrote in his diary. It has been four years since the last entry, and he has since passed on. These are only a few of my father's entries, taken from a few of his many journals that he left behind. I could think of no better way to tell his story, than for him to tell it himself. I am heartbroken that he and mother are both gone, and yet I know that wherever they are, they are together once more, sitting under the tree that made his life what it was. This is not a sad ending, but a new beginning. I have taken my own son, and planted a new tree where the old one once stood. My father is buried nearby, and my mother has been moved to rest next to him. I will make sure that this tree grows strong like its predecessor while I live. I will hope that it may some day bring joy to someone, like 'the strong tree standing alone in the meadow' brought to my father.
Word Count: 1644