Tree Of Life A sixty-five year-old apple tree is growing in my front yard. It stands perfectly centered in between my house, and my detached two-car garage. The base of its trunk leaves the ground at a slight angle, giving the impression that it's leaning forward. The surrounding ground is un-even and bumpy with roots weaving in and out of the earth, as if they are seeking a breath of fresh air. Unlike the rough and deeply grooved surface usually associated with trees; my tree's bark is smoother, and pimple like with sections scaling off in sheets.

The actual trunk is only eight feet tall, and not very wide, but the height and span of the branches shoot out twice that size, making it top heavy. Although not an enormous tree, it dominates the nearby scenery. As the oldest and wisest vegetation, it demands seniority from the surrounding landscape. Over the course of one year, my apple tree takes on multiple faces, demonstrating the circle of life.

During the winter months, the apple tree is gray and lifeless. Having been stripped of all leaves, its limbs are barren and jagged. Frozen in place, they stiffly poke out into the air, and are reluctant to sway even for a harsh winter wind. The tree appears dry and brittle. The birds no longer favor it for shelter. They have abandoned their previous home for the pine trees on my neighbor's property.

The tree elicits a cold, and sad feeling. It is physically present, yet somehow absent at the same time. Unlike death, this is a temporary state. The tree remains silent and still during this brief hibernation. As the season shifts into spring, the apple tree slowly comes back to life. Previous monotones of gray change to various shades of vivid color.

Branches pregnant with bright green buds announce its return. It extends its appendages into the gentle breezes, as if stretching from a long nap. Eager to gain strength, thirsty roots drink springtime showers from the warming ground. While tender young leaves unfurl from their tight cocoons, the branches explode with thousands of white blossoms. A telltale sign of the fruit yet to come, the flowers perfume the air with the slightest movement. The birds welcome the tree's return, and build new nests in its sweetly scented arms.

The tree is full of hope, and emulates the happiness of new life In the summer, the apple tree reaches its full glory. Lush and green, it stands tall and proud. The branches reach out high, tickling the power lines above it. The leaves rustle carefree with delight, while dancing in the wind. Full of activity and sound, it has become somewhat of an airport, as the birds continuously fly in and out of its thick foliage. Chirping and singing can be heard from early morning until late at night.

Acting as an umbrella, it provides cooling shade for flora and fauna from the hot sun. While in its prime, the tree reveals its most impressive feat. Promising a fruitful gift, tiny red apples begin forming amongst the greenery. Upon the arrival of fall, the apple tree is ready for harvest.

The cooling temperatures signal its green leaves to fade into yellow. Gradually, much like an aging man losing his hair, they fly off into the air. Heavy laden with fruit, its arm like branches slump over, with some touching the ground. Fully spent from its production, the tree appears to be tired, and in need of rest. As disappearing leaves reveal a skeleton like silhouette, the tree slowly slips into deep sleep. Once again, its cycle is complete, and it will rest quietly in preparation for re-birth..