That autumn morning as we neared our tree, Grandpa stopped hard and pressed a meaty finger to my lips. A snowshoe hare had taken refuge under our Sugar Maple, shaded pistachio and apple.

“God’s little creatures need heartening too.” His voice was like gravel, even his whispers were wieldy.

I was nine, unwilling to share. So while he watched the young leveret frolic and scout, I pursed my lips, folded my arms and forsook the blessed gift.

Eventually, the hare scampered on, “One day boy, you’ll find peace in others’ joy.” We strode to our precious tree and sat beside each other in the stillness. Her seeds had fallen early – they were crisp like toast. Grandpa swept some kernels into his hardy hands and flung them high; they rained down like tiny winged horseshoes…

“A Sugar Maple seed carries partners, a boy and a girl. See?” Every Sunday walk included lessons in nature – but I didn’t mind. “Through mighty gales and sweltering heat, they are bound.

“If they break apart?”

Grandpa culled a samara and split it, “Then it was meant to be.” He blew its parts into the wind, “Sometimes, a seedling flies higher alone.”

He died that spring.

Ma daubed at the grief on my face, “the foliage is striking this year.”

Our maple stood prodigious, her branches reaching out like a prayer. I perched beneath her.

There’s such betrayal in her eyes…

The leaves crunched like paper under my feet.

But suspicion is folly…and sinful…

To the right, a silver hare peeked around a mossy stump then continued grazing.

I ambled away but glimpsed over my shoulder to behold the elfin critter, carousing under our tree.

“Enjoy.” I grinned. A sole seedling danced in the solace.

And my wife bedded down with her lover.



Chad Broughman



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