This is an excerpt from a work in progress.
Three towering silver maples my father and I planted more than a half century ago stand behind my daughter as I bid her farewell. The trees were spindly, leafless twigs when we settled their burlap-wrapped rootballs in the dry grey earth. Peatmoss, well-water and my promise to water them each day so they'd grow tall and sturdy was all the encouragement they needed. One of their boughs now shades the imprint of my five year-old hands at the end of the concrete drive.
The English lilac, transplanted from my grandmother's yard, still blooms each spring. Although I can't prune it, smell it, or touch it, it's still my lilac. The hills of watermelon and squash vines stretching their curly tendrils, fragrant mint, red and yellow tomatoes, hens and chickens basking in the sunlight, clematis covering the fence, iris, snapdragons, hydrangea, lilies, roses, forsythia, peonies, and the burning bush, all in furious, defiant bloom.
The lilac is still there, neglected, as well as some of the roses. Everything else is gone, including the house and its contents. The maples and my handprints, remain.