The tree stood beside the house on a quiet winter evening.
It was not a tall tree, reaching only to the ceiling of the first floor. Its kind could grow many metres higher, but this tree was where it was, and unlikely to grow much more.
It had seen many lives come and go. It wasn’t old, by tree standards – only some forty years. But families had moved in to the house, and moved out again. The house was a rental for a time, with regular turnover. A family now owned the house and seemed to be settling in, building a garden and a fence, but the tree knew these could still be transient people, could come and go, and the tree would just stay where it was, watching things.
It was a shady side of the house, only getting an hour or so of sun a day. The tree knew this was the main reason for its diminutive size. It was not bothered by this.
Beneath the soil, it had large roots. The extended down and down, and across to the foundation of the house, and out into the neighbour’s yard. That would cause a problem in later years, and the tree would be injured when the neighbours decided to remove those roots, but it would carry on in life, keep existing, keep living and watching and simply being.
It was a cold day, and the sap moved slowly, but the tree rustled its branches and settled in for winter.