I stand there listening to her talk, poking the ground with the toe of my shoe as the soil gives way like mud. The grass there is different than the rest of the surrounding area, thicker, greener, hardier. There's an underground spring there, she says, that surfaces right at that spot. That's why the ground is always wet.
There used to be a willow tree, she continues. Years ago. It was massive, just like the willow trees pictured in magazines, its branches hiding a world of its own underneath a one tree canopy, an umbrella of green. The tree thrived off that spring and the world thrived off that tree. Birds taking shelter in its branches, frogs living content among the roots. At all hours of the day, she said, there'd be a chorus.
Then one day they noticed it starting to get sick. Before she knew it, the branches were bare and the birds had stopped singing. So she had it removed. Now the only thing there is emptiness, no canopy of green, no song birds, no chorus of frogs. Just a bunch of mud and grass. Grass that needs to be cut down with a weed wacker.