Love. At some time we are all afflicted by this emotion. When we are little we are convinced that we will never love or marry anybody. We are just going to stay at home with our parents forever and ever. But then, we all start dreaming of the fairytale story of eternal blissful heart-palpitating love, or as the owl in Bambi said "almost everybody gets twitterpated".
Yes, we grow up and we fall in love with the idea of idyllic love. The fairytale hype of "living happily ever after". The truth be told, as my sister, enlightened me, when the fairytale ends with "and they lived happily ever after", that is when real life starts.
Every year when Arbour Day comes around, most of us have the desire to plant a tree that would one day provide us with fruit and shade, so we buy a sapling, and with much ado and care we plant it in our garden. We can already imagine the beautiful tree it is going to be. For the first few weeks we ardently take care of it, we nurture it and we make sure it gets the correct amount of water and food, but over time we start to take its growth for granted. Slowly the sapling grows into a tree, but along the way it picks up scars, drought stunts its growth, winds bend and twist the young branches. Sometimes this tree withers and dies, or gets chopped down. However, a loving gardener, will tend to this tree and protect it against the elements and prune it carefully.
Love is like this tree. When we fall in love we have such high ideals and dreams, but life and time can wreak havoc with this tender tree. The storms of life can rip its branches off, the sun can scorch its leaves. The winter frost can destroy its fruit. Insects can burrow into its core and eat away at its life. We, as the gardeners tending this tree, must be vigilant and take care of this tree. We must see to its needs, water it correctly, treat any diseases it might pick up or pests setting out to destroy it. We have to gently shape it into the way we want it to grow. All this takes care and effort. It is a long term investment. We can't possibly hope to plant a tree today and in a year hope to enjoy the spread of its leaves. However, when we tend to it year in and year out, we will eventually sit in its shade, and not only us, but our grandchildren and their children as well. It will be a legacy long after we have passed. Such is love and marriage. When we take care of it, it grows into a beautiful tree, providing lush shade and delicious fruit, even if the bark bears the wounds of the elements and the hardships of the seasons.
When I look back, I also see the girl I was with stars in my eyes. Yet today I see a woman, and I am glad that my love and I can shelter in the shade of our love tree. Its branches might be slightly bend and twisted, and there are scars in its bark, but it was worth tending to it. Now we can enjoy the stillness beneath its cool canopy.