| With every crack of a branch, with every earth-bound journey of a limb, my heart breaks a little more. I am witnessing the destruction of a dear friend.
It is the day after Christmas and southern Oklahoma is in the grip of a devastating ice storm.
The electricity left shortly after I awoke. That is not bothering me...yet.
It's the trees. The majestic old trees. They have withstood droughts. They have withstood gale force winds. Alas, the ice is too strong a foe. As the grand old branches support the weight of ice and yet more ice, they finally admit defeat and fall.
It is the willow in my aunt's yard across the road that hurts most. She loved that willow. So do I.
I've watched her graceful branches dance in the wind, seeming to celebrate life. She taught me to sway with life's storms. She taught me to dance in the face of life's windier times. I have admired the willow for her ability to bend but never break. Now, she's breaking my heart, branch by branch. Even now, in the face of tragedy, she is swaying in the breeze. She is fighting until the end with dignity. As I watch her last stand, I struggle to keep the memory of her joyful dance alive.
My aunt isn't alive to see her willow bow to the force of the ice. But somewhere, I know she is watching, and I know her heart is breaking too.