This is Christofer’s tree:
We planted it, and his ashes, in the front yard. Close family, and friends like family, were here. Small, intimate, sad and touching.
It’s a Sun Valley Maple. Someday, it will look like this:
It’s not what I wanted. I wanted an oak. That seemed a bit cliche, but I wasn’t sure what else fit. Chris was strong and beautiful and withstood so many storms without breaking. But I wasn’t completely set on it. My mind was open. When we discovered that we’d have to wait until next spring for an oak tree, we looked around for something different. Nothing jumped out at me, not even the Sun Valley Maple, until I saw the one we bought. Here’s why:
See that? Three splits instead of the typical two. It “spoke” to me. It looks like a Norse rune, though I couldn’t remember which one. Chris was really into runes. When he was younger, being blonde-haired, blue-eyed and over six feet tall, he was convinced he had Norseman blood mixed in somewhere. It was half-joking, but only half. When I saw this tree, I knew it was his. I meant to look up which rune looked like an upside-down leaf rake, but never got to it. Until yesterday.
While putting something away in the closet of his room, the rune book slid off it’s precarious perch. I figured I’d look it up while I had it in my hand, before I forgot again. Maybe my brain had stored this information in one of its many folds, nudging me to choose that particular tree but…
What was Chris if not protection personified? That’s just who he was. But it goes on to say “Control of the emotions is an issue here […] New opportunities and challenges are typical of this Rune, and with them will come trespasses and unwanted influence […] Algiz serves as a mirror for the Spiritual Warrior, the one whose battle is always with the self.”
I guess the tree really did speak to me.
You can go through life pushing off all the little messages that come through, or you can look at them, see them for what they mean to you, and absorb. Sometimes I feel dumb, reading so much into everything, but isn’t that what I do as a writer? We add in these little signs and symbols that some readers will never overtly get, but will be pulled in anyway. They make the story richer, give it depth. It’s the same with life, no?
Note: I said this wasn’t going to turn into a tribute site for Christofer; I suppose I was wrong. Kind of. This started out as a “cool Chris” event I wanted to record, and ended with writing. Writing is life. Presently, Chris is influencing everything that flies forth from my fingertips. I suppose it’s a natural pairing right now.