several days after sky was born, some dear family friends of ours gave us a tree. it was a sweet little blue spruce in a red pot, and we put white christmas lights on it. after christmas, it moved to spend the early months of the year on the back porch. this spring, it sprouted soft blue little shoots all over.

it sat quietly through the summer, and we didn’t think about it much. i was barely home this summer, and the rare times i looked out the back window, my eyes traveled past the little grief tree to songbirds, city lights, and colorful sunsets.

until today, when i noticed its new shoots drooping, brittle and slightly parched. it’s still blue, not brown, but it definitely doesn’t appear to be enjoying the end-of-summer weather.¬†apparently there’s no “pause” button for little grief trees. with attention, they grow large and beautiful; with neglect, they shrivel into a brown mess.

so i watered the little grief tree, until the water poured from its pot onto the porch and down 10 feet to the patio, spattering bikes and garden tools, streaming off the patio into the lawn.

maybe someday we will give the tree a permanent home in the yard to grow tall and beautiful, but not today. it’s not ready yet. i don’t think the tree has accepted its fate as forever a grief tree, and won’t appreciate the bitter soil a grief tree needs to thrive.

so, for now, the tree will sit in limbo, on the porch, unsure of its place in the world or identity or when it will be watered or if it will survive the rest of summer.