The Weeping Willow Of Corning, Iowa      by   Ruth Utnage

In a small, dying town called Corning in Iowa just to the outskirts is a large Weeping Willow tree. Underneath its magnificence the grass is a bright neon green because it shares that space with thick, soft moss. The branches hang in long arching swoops that resemble a vine more than a branch.

But here’s the best part about that tree, it’s magic. Yup, that’s right, it’s not just any ole Weeping Willow, it’s a magic portal into a magical place that only the accepts those that are born with “the gift”. The gift of heartache.

As a child I would go to this tree and walk under its flowing arches and giggle as I felt its leaves and fingers caress my skin. The soft moss under my feet bouncing right back into its perfect form, like a squishy stress ball I could forget my worries because under that magical tree I was in paradise.

Under that tree my family wasn’t full of drug addicts, abuse, confused Christianity. Under that tree, that magical tree I didn’t remember if I was a boy or a girl, I didn’t remember the 10 bedrooms I had occupied by that age, or that I didn’t have any real friends. There was no racism, I wasn’t confused about who my Mother was, crank was simply a motion, trucks didn’t break down, angry men didn’t soak cars in milk on hot days, cockroaches didn’t exist, catfish didn’t have worms that your moms boyfriend constantly made you eat, men didn’t stink like the Missouri river and KFC, and best of all…I didn’t want to die.

If you ever go to Corning, Iowa, there is a giant Weeping Willow tree and it’s the only one of its kind. You’ll know it’s the one because it’s the only one that makes you feel so small, yet still so beautiful. It’ll be the one that calls to you from your vehicle to get out and experience its majesty, its transformative power.

To this day, paradise is under the shade of a Weeping Willow.

With Love
Ruth Utnage

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