My mom and I walk into a bright classroom, many other families chattering amongst themselves. My legs, sore from the tour, carry me to a plastic chair. The man leading the tour hands everyone a small plant. It is a dark vibrant green and has little spikes for leaves. I like the way the little tree reminds me of a miniature christmas tree, as if I was a giant. He tells us the plants are a token of appreciation and he hopes to see us again in the next school year. I walked out of the classroom content and excited to watch my new plant grow, it was the first plant I had ever received!
The next weekend, my mom and I go up to our house upstate. We take the little sprout of a tree and put it into a nice row of soil. I wake up the next morning to wet mud and a blanket of dew that covers every plant and blade of grass. The tree looked greener than ever. Little dew drops on it, like crystals from the sky.
Every weekend my mom and I go upstate to our garden, watching the little pine tree grow, until it was not so little anymore. Eventually as the years go by, week by week, we do not show up as often. The car ride was long and I got too busy. Sometimes we wouldn’t drive up for months at a time. Slowly forgetting the plant I once cherished.
Quarantine struck New York City. Hit hard. Lockdown. My mom and I drive upstate, carrying all our bags, taking our lives with us. Everyday my mom goes to the garden, digging, weeding, and planting. One morning my mom asks me to come to the garden with her. I groan and roll out of bed, as any typical teenager would when forced to get out of bed earlier than noon. Dew drops caress my bare feet as we walk to the garden. In the middle of the garden, I spotted my tree. Long and elegant tree branches filled with pine needles. Each pine needle magnified from crystalline dew drops. As I crouch next to my little tree, I remember doing this exact same thing countless times when I was younger. When life was simpler.
Through quarantine I nurtured my tree, a symbol of childlike happiness, and life before the pandemic. My tree and I started as small plantlings and we will one day grow into beautiful strong trees. Memories continuing to flow through our roots.
Aarju is fourteen years old and she loves writing!