t starts simply, in separate places. The seed takes root. It winds through the soil searching for moisture. The trunk sprouts soft and vulnerable, then its hard case stiffens as the cold wind, biting rain, steamy sun buffet it. The tree grows.
Across the path, another tree grows too. Both trees spread their boughs wide, present a brilliant canopy, stretch in languid elegance as the years pass.
The first encounter is tentative, mistaken. One bough brushes against the other in a sudden wind. The next encounter is a pause, as the thrust of one bough embraces the push of the other. Friction softens the bark where their boughs cross.
Who knows which tree bends first, or why? That’s the mystery of Love, the silent moment of giving. First one bough bends, and then the other, and as the seasons pass, another bough reaches out, entwines, and the two grand trees are knit together in an embrace.
Look closely. The boughs have melted together. Sap flows from one tree to the other in a constant transfusion. They are one creature. What hurts one hurts the other. What nourishes one nourishes the other.
he first time I met Love I almost missed it. What I had thought was Love had taken me to the wrong places, left me with the wrong people, made me try too hard, say too much, wait in frustrated silence for the words “I love you” to recover their meaning.
When I met T., I knew that I had made a friend. I knew that I wanted to talk to her whenever I could. I would hang up the phone and wonder why she was willing to let me go on and on. We laughed and giggled. I rooted for her to get everything that she wanted. We bickered. The world was crisp when she was around.
Then one complicated February day she looked at me and said, “I love you.”
And then I realized what love was. I can’t imagine being alive and not feeling this.
Her bough had reached out and touched mine. She had bent herself around me. The feeling was electric. It has never left.
* * * * *
JW Rogers lives in New York with his wife, three children, three dogs and four manual typewriters. His other contributions to Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.