Read part one here.
When I got a good look at William after his return, I could see that the boy I knew was gone. There was no youth left in his face. He was still William though. A little sadder, perhaps, a little more tired, but still him. Tommy took to his father immediately. No fear or reserve. Carly had seen to it that the boy already loved William with all his innocent heart.
The wooden swing was used until it broke. By then Tommy was much taller and he pried the split piece of wood from its ropes and began to use those ropes to still swing as high as he could.
When Tommy was the perfect image of William when he first brought Carly to my field, Tommy brought a girl, too. A sweet, quiet girl with corkscrew curls and a wide eyed way about her. They visited me all summer long and I was content to watch it all happening again. In the last stretch of heat that summer, after the pair laid in each other’s arms on the dewy grass, talking, kissing, and dreaming, Tommy strode over to my trunk with a purpose in his step. He took something from his pocket; it was a small folded knife, and he used it to carve something into my bark. It stung a little but I am a large, strong tree and he only cut a tiny piece of me. His girl came up beside him and lifted her face for another kiss when he finished.
The next spring, Tommy returned and used that same knife to scrape away the carving he so carefully made. That hurt a little more, but no more than the sight of the tears he brushed away while working at it. I saw him less and less after that, and I have so often wondered where his road took him.
William and Carly grew old beneath my boughs. He built a bench on which they sat through countless sunsets. Year after year, they returned; peace on their faces and light in their eyes. They began to walk more slowly. I could see their approach at the far corner of the field and by the time they reached me and sat on their bench, the sun had shifted to another part of me.
It is spring again now. I expected them to come several sunsets ago, but they have not. There’s been no sign of my dear friends
Instead, there are machines. Not like the ones in another time that used to churn up the field in spring or harvest its grains in the autumn. These are different; rougher and louder. They have cleared and flattened the field. Trees that stood for all or most my life are gone from the other side of the meadow. New machines are coming each day now with loads of wood and other materials unknown to me. I am afraid. Their movements get closer and closer and I can only wonder if I will be in their way in the end.
The nearer they draw, the gladder I am to have told you the best of my memories.