A framed photo on a dusty bookshelf caught his attention; he moved closer and picked it up silently. A small girl with long blond hair was standing under a tree, her face tilted up in delight as its feathery leaves brushed across her face, framing it. A willow tree. Willow.
In Paul Friedrich's book Proto-Indo-European Trees he identifies the "semantic primitives" of the Indo-European tribe of languages through a group of words that have not changed much through twelve thousand years - and those are tree names: especially birch, willow, adler, elm, ash, apple and beech (bher, wyt, alysos, ulmo, os, abul, bhago). Seed syllables, bija, of the life of the west.
Amory took to writing poetry on spring afternoons, in the gardens of the big estates near Princeton, while swans made effective atmosphere in the artificial pools, and slow clouds sailed harmoniously above the willow. May came too soon, and suddenly unable to bear walls, he wandered the campus at all hours through starlight and rain.
Alex took a silent step closer to the kitchen door and watched unseen as willow spooned instant coffee into a pair of mugs.With another yawn, she scraped her hair off her face and stretched. She looked so entirely human, so drowsy and sleep-rumpled.For a moment, Alex just gazed at her, taking in her long tumble of hair, her wide green eyes and pixieish chin. Fleetingly, he imagined her eyes meeting his, wondering what she'd look like if she smiled
Just as a dancer, turning and turning, may fill the dusty light with the soft swirl of her flying skirts, our weeping willow -- now old and broken , creaking in the breeze -- turns slowly, slowly in the winter sun, sweeping the rusty roof of the barn with the pale blue lacework of her shadow.
The very willow-rows lopped every three years for fuel or powder, - and every sizable pine and oak, or other forest tree, cut down within the memory of man! As if individual speculators were to be allowed to export the clouds out of the sky, or the stars out of the firmament, one by one. We shall be reduced to gnaw the very crust of the earth for nutriment.