[KS] Our Family Tree

Dec 25th, 2013
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  1. Original post:
  3. “Mommy, where are we going?”
  5. “Somewhere special, sweetie.”
  7. “But wheeeere?”
  9. “It’s a secret.”
  11. “Is it far? I’m tired of walking.”
  13. The little girl puffs her cheeks out and lets her shoulders droop, exaggerating her physical state. The man beside her chuckles softly at the gesture.
  15. “Well maybe you’d like to ride on Daddy’s shoulders! Raaargh!”
  17. The little girl squeals in a mixture of fear and delight as her Father lifts her into the air, perching his child astride his shoulders. His wife – the little girl’s Mother – smiles softly.
  19. “No, sweetie, it isn’t far. We’re almost there. We’re just in time as well.”
  21. Having the highest vantage point atop her Father’s shoulders, the little girl is the first to see what lies before them as they reach the crest of the mountain path. A quiet ooh is the only thing spoken by the little girl as she takes in the scene before her.
  23. There lies a small plateau, only a dozen metres wide and half as much out. Bushes, trees, and rocks on the far side prevent further passage up the mountain from this point. The rest of the plateau is clear of obstructions, save for a single, tall tree whose canopy provides shade to a wide, flat, boulder jutting a mere foot and a half out of the grassy ground.
  25. All across the plateau, dotted throughout the soft, green, grass, hundreds of flowers of purple and white hues turn their heads towards the rapidly setting sun. The sunset on the horizon paints the sky in a deep orange hue and bathes both the mountain and the sleepy town at its base in fiery light.
  27. The little girl’s mouth continues to hang open in awe for several minutes as she and her parents take in the beauty of the scene. A little nudge from her Father forces her to look away.
  29. “That’s not all there is to see here, kiddo. Hop down and have a look at this.”
  31. With the assistance of her Father, the little girl climbs down from his shoulders and looks up at him expectantly, twirling her long, dark, hair around her finger. Both her Father and Mother take one of her hands in theirs and lead the little girl over to the tree over the boulder. At first, she doesn't understand, and frowns at her parents’ apparent deception. On second glance, however, she notices what she was led to.
  33. “Mommy! Daddy! It’s your names! In the tree!”
  35. Her parents smile warmly, shifting their gaze from their daughter to each other.
  37. “Your Father and I carved that into this tree many years ago, just after he proposed to me. We thought it was time to add another name to our family tree – yours, sweetie. After all, this is the place that inspired your name.”
  39. “Really?” The girl whispers, fists in front of her chest and bouncing on her toes in excitement. Her Father beams and ruffles the girl’s hair.
  41. “That’s right, kiddo. But I think you might be a bit young to carve it by yourself, so Daddy’ll help you, alright?”
  43. The girl jumps on the spot, with a resounding “Yaaay!” as her Father removes and unsheathes a knife from his backpack. Together they kneel by the tree; the Father’s hand over the knife, the girl’s hand over her Father’s. Slowly, they carve her name into the soft, brown, bark, beneath the carved heart enclosing the names of her parents.
  45. Their work complete, the Father stands and stows the knife back in its sheath, while his wife bends over to pick up their daughter, settling the child on her hip. She tickles her daughter’s nose, eliciting a giggle from the child.
  47. “Maybe one day, when you’re older, you can bring your family up here to carve their names. Our family tree is yours too, now.”
  50. **********
  53. “Mommy, where are we going?”
  55. “Somewhere special, sweetie.”
  57. “But wheeeere?”
  59. “It’s a secret.”
  61. “Is it far? I’m tired of walking.”
  63. “Not far at all. Look, we’re right here.”
  65. The little girl gazes across the plateau, taking in the sight with wide eyes. With a tug on her hand, her Mother leads the little girl over to a large tree with a pair of matching headstones at its roots. The little girl looks up at her Mother with a curious glance, but before she can formulate the question, her Mother answers it.
  67. “Today, we’re going to carve your name into this tree, just as I did with my parents a long time ago, and as your Father did many years after that. This is our family tree.”
  69. With a careful hand, the little girl’s Father removes a knife from his backpack, and etches the most recent addition of their family into the wood. Smiling, he stands back to admire his work as the evening sun sets the sky ablaze with colour. The trio seat themselves on the boulder and watch, arm in arm, as the sun sets. The same thought runs through all of their minds;
  71. Our Family Tree
  73. Masaki + Naoki Ikezawa
  74. Hanako Ikezawa + Hisao Nakai
  75. Michiko Nakai
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