I was driving home yesterday and saw snow falling. Well, not snow exactly, but cotton. From the numerous cottonwood trees surrounding my office neighborhood. It's amazing, you'll be in an area of town with no trees visible in a 10-block radius, and you'll be surrounded by fluttering white. It reminds me of when I was a kid on the farm. We had these monstrous, ancient cottonwood trees. So big that several kids could hide behind one at once and never be seen. Which we did, with the cousins, when we played tag, hide and seek, etc...We were rarely indoors in the summer.
Summer meant having the ground covered with the cotton bolls; we'd pick up as many as we could, just because they felt so nice, tearing them apart to see the little seeds inside. I could never really think of anything to do with them...just seeing how big of a pile we could put together was enough. And they had to be clean. If the cotton looked like a farm truck had run over it, it couldn't be added to the pile. When we rode our bikes around our huge U-shaped driveway (there was a small orchard in the middle), our tires would kick up clouds of white.
Those trees also provided the most luscious shade. There were snippets of sun that peeked through just enough to make patches of the yard hot on our feet, but then we'd just jump back into the security of the shade trees. I used to read under them, leaning up against the trunks. I even took an old pillow out with me, to cushion from the scratchy bark. A breeze would blow by and flutter the pages...I so loved to be outside reading.
It's been years since I visited the old homestead. My parents never sold it, and no one lived there after us. It used to make me sad, thinking of that old place, with toys and some decrepit furniture still scattered inside...I still get melancholy over it, but now I try to envision it as that old house is taking a break from all the craziness it had to endure from the families who lived there through the years. It did its job, did it well, and was more than loved. That old house is taking a well-deserved break, just watching the seasons flow by, deer grazing in the old yard, raccoons living in the roof, birds fluttering through broken windows, landing on the piano keys and scaring themselves silly.
I heard those trees have started falling apart, as old things do. Large branches, feet around, have fallen and crashed through the house's roof...I can imagine it happening, not during a windy, stormy day, but during a hot, still summer afternoon, the splintering sound filling the air, with no one but the birds to hear.
I miss those old trees.