Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Under the Shade of a Tree

Some called you my little four-legged friend. Others called you nothing more than my pet. But, you were so much more than that to me. You were my love. Yours was an unconditional love; an unwavering love; a devotion that could not be matched.

You wanted nothing out of life but to be near me. You would wait patiently for me to come home from my long day at work. Wherever I went, you would follow. While sitting on the couch, I could always find you nestled on the cushion right next to me; not just next to me, but always touching me. When I had chores and activities to do outside, you would always be at my side.

As the years came and went, you grew older, and you became weaker. You could no longer keep up with me when I was outside. Instead, you would lie down in the cool shade of a tree and watch my every move. Your eyes were always on me, never letting me out of your view.

You trusted me. You depended on me. I provided you with protection, food, shelter, and most certainly, my love. But, my love was never a match for yours. The level of my love would often come and go, depending on my circumstances, and on my mood. But, your love was always the same. Regardless of how you felt, you always had me in your sight; whether from the couch right next to me, or from the cool shade of a tree.

On your last morning, I wasn’t with you. When you passed on to the other side of life, you were alone. When I found you, your eyes were still open. You were still looking for me as your last breath was drawn. Your love for me would not permit your eyes to close, even as you struggled at death’s door. Until the very end, you held out hope that you would find me in your sight just one more time. Perhaps I could have saved you. Perhaps our eyes could have met just one more time. Your unconditional love for me was causing you to look for your master until the very end.

Your passing was one of the saddest chapters in my life. In your honor, I wanted to extend one last effort to care for you just as you cared for me. I buried you in the shade of a tree, so that you might forever be sheltered and protected from the heat of the relentless summer sun.

But even in death, you would not allow me be the final giver of love. You found a way to watch over me, and to love me from the other side of life. You see, a tree draws its very being and substance from the ground in which it has been planted. The soil, its minerals, and its nutrients transform themselves, and virtually become the tree. Over time, your body became food and nutrients for that tree. Over time, you became a part of that tree.

Your love for me would not allow you to stay buried in the ground, forever departed from your master. You found a way to continue looking out over the field, watching everything I do. You continue to give me more love than I could ever give back to you. You are no longer lying under the cool shade of a tree; you are creating the very shade that cools me as I stand and gaze down at your final resting place.

Now, every time I stand in the shade of a tree, I am forever reminded of you, and your unmatchable love for me.

Larry Tate
December 2006


Cleda said...

This is the second time I have come and experienced your awesome writing, due to a blog on Ginger's Shoutlife page and today I will leave a comment here as well as on her page.... this was truly a magnificent story.... and I appreciate so much Ginger sending me here and your writing the words GOD set on your heart..... GOD bless...

Judith Martorelli said...

This is an amazing story! I had tears in my eyes as it touched my heart. You are a very gifted writer.
God bless you and Ginger!

Denise Griffin said...

That brought tears to my eyes and I am in awe of your writing and truly inspiring

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful story Larry. Thank you for sharing your gift with other. God Bless.

Pam (Fellow GB Insider)