My grandma died on a bright December day, right after a thick snowfall. As ready as she was, the living were not. I spent that morning walking ion the woods in the East Side of The Morton Arboretum. The air was frigid, and the snow-covered trails provided a level of solitude fitting for the events of the day. Despite living in one of the largest cities in America, I felt alone.
At one point on my walk, I emerged from the woods and entered an open field. To my right, there was a young tree I hadn’t paid attention to before. It wasn’t dominating like a Bur Oak, and it wasn’t showy like a Magnolia in late spring. However, it centered me. In its young age, it had a small frame and the dappled cinnamon and slate bark was prominent against the snow. The lacebark elm, a tough tree with delicate features. This tree can hold its ground against pests and diseases that ruin other elms. Just standing there in its presence made me feel connected to my grandma. This tree made me feel at peace in a city of millions of people.
I now visit that tree as an unofficial memorial for the wonderful woman named Doris. I took a picture which I still look at to connect me with her memory.