The thing I remember best about our first days with Simon is the way his birth seemed to coincide with the arrival of spring. It seemed to me that the whole earth was celebrating his arrival by blooming and warming and coming alive. Here is a story I wrote to celebrate the special way he came into our family. It’s in honor of his second birthday, which is tomorrow.

High on a hill in an unknown land stood a Great Tree. And although the hilltop was windy and the soil was rocky it was a beautiful tree, each leaf more lovely than the next. In it’s branches perched many birds. They sang as the wind blew, “Grow! Grow!” So the wind blew, winter came and the Great Tree grew.

When spring came the many birds returned from their winter journeys and again began to sing, “Bloom! Bloom!” So the Great Tree straightened its branches, held its breath and burst into flowers. Each flower was more lovely than the next. But on the highest branch grew a flower of pure gold, the most beautiful flower of all. The wind blew and the Great Tree shone in the sunlight.

In time it was summer and each flower, in its turn, became a seed. Each seed, in its turn, grew wings that fluttered in the wind and tickled the leaves of the Great Tree. The golden flower became a seed of pure gold with beautiful silver wings. The wind blew and the many birds sang, “Fly! Fly!” So the seeds took flight and flew away to distant lands. But the golden seed flew furthest of all, to a beautiful valley where warm breezes rustled the leaves of the many trees all around.

The golden seed took hold deep in the soil, in the shade of another Great Tree. Winter came. The wind blew and the little seed could hear the Great Tree whispering, “Grow! Grow!” Many birds flew overhead, resting in the branches of the Great Tree and fluffing their feathers in the silence.

When spring came the golden seed sprouted into a Little Tree. The Great Tree shook her branches with joy. Storms gathered and passed, winters came and went, the wind blew and the Little Tree grew and grew. When the time came to bloom, the Little Tree straightened its branches, held its breath and burst into flowers. Each flower was pure gold and more lovely than the next.

The creatures of the valley were astonished, they had never seen such a beautiful Little Tree. Even the Great Trees all around trembled and shook with wonder, “Where did this wonderful tree come from?”, they asked. But the Little Tree felt sad, “Where did I come from?” he wondered, “Where is my Great Tree?”

The Great Tree in whose shade the Little Tree had grown did not know the answer, but as a gentle rain began to fall in the valley the Great Tree straightened its branches just as far as it could and kept the Little Tree dry. The wind blew and the Little Tree wondered and wondered. After summer had passed and Little Tree’s golden seeds had flown off on their silver wings, winter came again to the valley. The Great Tree whispered and the many birds settled onto its branches, fluffing their feathers in the silence.

The ground began to thaw. The many birds began to twitter and flutter their feathers. One said, “I have been to many far-off lands and seen the secret places. Each summer I make my home in a beautiful Great Tree on a high hill. Many seasons past, this Great Tree had a flower of gold on its highest branch. Its golden seed had silver wings. I never learned where that golden seed took hold.”

Little Tree, who had overheard the bird’s tale, cried “I am that Little Tree! The Little Tree’s leaves caught the sunshine as they turned in the breeze. The bird, who was wise from his journeys, replied, “Indeed, some Little Trees have two Great Trees: A Great Tree who makes their seed and gives them their flowers and another Great Tree who gives them shade and whispers to them through the long winter’s cold. You must be such a Little Tree.”

The Little Tree straightened its branches and said, “You must tell the Great Tree that gave me my golden flowers that I am in a beautiful valley in the shade of another Great Tree. Here I will grow until I too become a Great Tree.”

As the Little Tree spoke the many Great Trees all around began to bud and put on leaves and the many birds took flight on their summer journeys. Spring had returned to the valley.


Happy Birthday Simon!