“Do all large things not grow from small ones?”
David’s father pressed down the soil around the base of the sapling with his bare hands. He stood up and shielded his eyes with one hand along his eyebrows. The sun was so intense that it was hard to bare outside the shade. He looked down at the tree and then turned to look at his son.
“This tree might yet outlive both you and me.”
His son, David, was only five apples tall. He had a white hat with a broad rim to protect him from the sun. He held a small watering can which looked oversized in his tiny hands.
“Do you want to give it water?”
Without answering the boy stepped forward and began clumsily watering the sapling.
“Make sure you give it everything as it is very hot today.”
“Will the water help it grow?” David asked.
“Do we need to give it water everyday?”
“No, it will grow deep roots.”
The father stepped into the shade of another, full grown tree. The boy followed.
“Do you see this tree? It has roots as deep as the tree is tall.”
The boy instinctively looked up from underneath its canopy. He couldn’t see the top as the dense foliage obstructed the view. He didn’t really need to look up. He knew the tree well. He knew it was higher than the house. He could watch the birds sitting on the branches from his room upstairs. He couldn’t imagine the roots being that long. He didn’t even know the earth went down that deep.
Dad leaned against the trunk of the tree with his hands resting on his knees. He was getting out of breath. David could sense something was wrong. He couldn’t quite tell what. Dad looked at his son and forced a smile. He put up a brave face to not alarm him.
“Are you alright, Dad?” David asked.
“Everything is fine. Let’s go inside.”
Dad stood fully upright as he walked across the garden. He couldn’t help doing it unusually slowly however.
David was sent upstairs to play in his room to give Dad some rest. Dad sat down in his sofa. He looked at the sapling. Barely the size of his thumb from where he was sitting. He taught of the memories he had hopefully created for his son just like the tree next to it brought back memories of his father and himself planting a sapling. He had been a bit older than his son when that tree had been planted. People don’t choose the time of their departure.