Tears of the Willow There was once a place, a sacred space where I'd sit, surrounded by a curtain of golden greens and pastel grays hung from mighty boughs. Enclosed within was a stillness, a tranquil hush filled with the quiet joy of verdant life. Late afternoon sunlight would stream dappled through the hazy amber air, suffused with motes of light that swirled and danced, like pixie dust left behind in the wake of Puck's passing, beneath the arching canopy. The outside world would grow vague within this hallowed circle, the sounds of summer muted and dim-- dogs barking, the crack of a home-run hit, a lawnmower in the distance. Time itself seemed to slow, quieting the noisy mind, revealing to the watchful eye hitherto unnoticed detail: the lush carpet of striated grass, the faint perfume of bitter green, the warm, damp musk of rich black earth, the whispering of wind making the boughs creak above, telling a story of ancient days. Gone now, this secret paradise, the act of careless thought. You were a Lord of Nature I could not save, though I would have fought the gods themselves. How I long for the feel of your rough, gray-brown bark, filled with the energy of life beneath my young hands. How I yearn to hear the soft sigh of your voice as the wind rustles your leaves and you share with me the secret wisdom of Gaia. No more do you weep, O Prince of Willows; even your tears have vanished, but their traces still stain the depths of my soul.