I went on a run, my feet pounding on the hard pavement, feeling the warm air on my face. I ran; I ran through this town, a town which to me is completely unknown. Just a few short weeks ago I was dropped up here and left all alone, leaving behind everyone and everything I have ever known and as I run a feeling that I have never quite experienced before comes over me: not the feelings of loneliness or longing for home that one would expect. Instead, I feel a sense of fear, a fear that things will never be the same again, a fear that I will never again feel at home, content with my place in the world, the way I used to. All that I see is unfamiliar and strange.
Then I see the tree, a tree, up here in this land of unknowns. And all of a sudden, standing here underneath this tree, I am no longer alone; all of a sudden I’m back, back underneath the tree leaning against its rough bark waiting for the arrival of my friends. The sun is shining through the leaves as they rustle in the wind and everything is back the way it should be. As I stand under this tree in Geneseo I can see the faces of the friends I left behind. The laughter rings in my ears as I recall the memories from the hours spent beneath this tree. This tree was just as much a part of me as my own home. I grew up underneath this tree; underneath this tree I laughed, I cried, and I lived. The two trees are strikingly similar: they have the same shape, same size, same bark, same way of providing shade. And when I look at this tree, I am called back to a time when things weren’t as unknown. I’m called back to a place where I truly feel at home. Underneath this tree, almost every day of my life, familiar faces would gather. This tree brings to my mind everything I miss about about home. No matter what was happening in my life, this tree was a constant. Through the ups and the downs, we met at that tree almost every day. Standing there on the sidewalk, looking at the bark, I was back underneath the tree where I had spent so much of my life.
This tree was like a little piece of home up here where home seems so far away, and as I stand underneath this tree and reminisce about the memories, I realize something: the tree back in my hometown is still there and it will always be there, and so are the memories that were formed with it. It didn’t die; it didn’t wither away into nothing. Its still standing there in the same place it stood for all those years. All I have to do is remember it. And as I think about this, the knot in my stomach that has slowly been forming begins to loosen. I turn away from the tree and begin to run again, my mind set at ease as I remember the tree that waited for me at home, but I’m also excited that I’ve found a new tree, up here in the land of the unknown.