They most likely have all died of natural causes, old age, maybe cancer. No one gets murdered in this little town. The trees and benches have all been memorialized. People within the community purchase one with a wooden post and plaques displaying “in memory of” and who purchased it. Some are new, the wood post freshly cut and slightly green on the ends, others are splintered like the lives of family members they left behind. The park by my house that I run and bike is full of them. All different, some evergreens, some blossoming varieties.
Sweet Bay Magnolia
October Glory Maple
Purple Leaf Plum
Red Sunset Maple
I try to get here at least three times a week. Try. Too much rain though, record rain this year.
Some are visited more than others, adorned with additional flowers at the base, or lawn ornaments. A tiny stone bunny sits at the base of a tree that I checked twice for movement. Some look broken, a second death, one to the person and the other to their memory. I slow down my bike ride and catch some of the names as I ride by. In the case of a particularly beautiful tree, I stop completely. Mostly because I’m nosey.
This section of my ride feels different, all the trees line up just so. I call it Memory Lane. The other trees and benches throughout the park are partnered by something more vibrant; tennis courts, basketball games, soccer goals. Not here. Just a lane and trees straight as a soldiers salute.
The feeling I get around the rest of the park is joyous, I get a glance at someones life, and who keeps their legacy. I stop to read the plaque of trees that I find particularly pretty, or old. There’s always the thud of a basketball or volleyball not too far in the distance, children laughing from the playground.
Memory lane feels like they are glancing into me, prying. Something about it makes me uncomfortable. Maybe its too quiet. I need the noise to distract me from my own memories.