The Lonely Tree
In the summer when I was twenty-two, I had an encounter with a beautiful tree.
That summer, in Switzerland, I was having a great time with Nora. She was a blonde-haired girl from Ireland, and we were attending a French Summer Program at the University of Freibourg. Come weekends and holidays, the two of us would roam the hills and fields on our rented bicycles. We had already visited all the quaint little towns in the vicinity. We loved to ride our bikes all the way up to the top of the hill, and then slide down the winding roads. I loved the breathtaking and dizzying speed, with the trees flanking the two sides of the road flashing by our eyes and the whooshing sound of the wind in our ears. I would be filled with a desire to howl.
The hills and fields of summer were refreshing and enchanting. Unexpected beauty lurked around every corner.
The tree appeared in such a moment.
Right after a hairpin curve, right before us, a valley appeared, and on the opposite slope was an expanse of trees.
The trees were intentionally planted, because the entire slope was filled with the same trees. Thanks to sunshine galore, the trees were lush and green, handsome and majestic. The verdant green extended all the way to the green grass in the valley. Yet, one solitary tree stood out.
It stood alone in front of all the other trees, glistening gold. The leaves resembled glittering orbs, halo after halo of warm gold. It must have been there for a long time already, because there was already a blanket of golden leaves on the grass beneath the tree. Though I was standing on the hill on the other side, I could still see the leaf that had just fallen. It fell into the pile of fallen leaves that had already started to fade and shrivel.