It'd been two years since I'd come here, just above the ruins of Waldorf. Since I gave your requiem. That tree, the one we would picnic under years and lifetimes ago, the one you requested your immolated bones be left at, the one that reminds me of an African baobab, was no longer. Dead. A skeleton of wood reaching into the alpine sky. The magistrate had warned me of this, but the full implication didn't hit me between the eyes until I was standing right there.
It was vaguely disturbing, but I have learned and re-learned how nothing remains static. Trees might live longer than us, but, they too pass on. Even the stars die eventually. Forever is a myth at best, and a cruel joke at worst.
We strung a set of prayer flags through those gnarled old branches. Left a nod to your favorite beer. I bowed respectively to what could be considered your gravestone. Whistler, one of your champion show dogs, one of my monkey's paws inheritance from you, stood passively at my side, offering unspoken comfort. I whispered a hello to your memory, and that day we left you there.
Getting to the Baobab bones was something of a dysfunctional early birthday present to me. It is weeks still before what would've been your birthday, and months to go from what was your death-day. So it goes. Even though I can see the far ridge of the mountain where we left you, I was bitter sweetly gladdened that I got to stand in the shade of that tree once more.
But I'd give anything to see you once more; healthy, happy, and breathing. Being there reminds me how terribly I miss you. That dead tree, Whistler, Chevy, and my memories are all I have of you now, and I have to work on accepting that, even if I do not like it a bit.