Brr, it’s cold outside, but mama wants some fresh air for her and her little one. The rain has kept them at home too long.
“Come on Luc, get ready, scarf, boots…”
“And my yellow jacket… I’ll carry the umbrella mama.”
“But it’s not raining.”
They go out, their yellow and orange jackets two splashes of rainbow amidst the grey all around.
The wind is blowing, the sun might as well be a moon, pale in the pale sky.
A puddle! Luc loves jumping in the puddles, there is nothing that brings him more happiness these days than the sound of the splashes, the water on his hands, the jets gushing all around.
After a lot of laughs, mama says: “Shall we walk to the playground?”
Luc is a bit reluctant, but then takes her hand and happily they go, humming a song, jumping now and then on the sidewalk’s lines.
On a street lined with trees, Luc stops, lifts his head to follow the height of the majestic beech he is under. He touches and caresses the slender and bare trunk, all around the tree, and then says: “Mama, do you think this tree is cold?”
His mother waits.
“Yes, mama, look, no leaves on the branches, it’s all empty. I think this tree is really cold. I will warm it up.”
Luc cups his hands around his mouth to funnel the warm air to the bare tree. He breathes with so much energy!
An old man comes by, his cane an aid more than a need.
“What is the little one doing?” he asks kindly.
“He’s warming up the tree with his breath,” mama answers.
The old man smiles. He moves on, tears in his eyes.
For the whole winter, every time they go for a walk on that street, Luc hugs the tree and gives it all the love and the warmth his little body is capable of.
Then, one day, at the beginning of Spring, diggers, cranes, trucks come to that corner of the town, and fill the air with noise and dust.
“Mama, what are they doing?” Luc asks.
“They will build a new house here,” his mother says, a tinge of sadness in her voice.
Luc is curious, wants to watch the progress. He asks to go back often, and one morning he is devastated to see that his beloved tree lies flat on the ground, its roots exposed, its branches cut, removed to make room for a large house.
Mama hugs Luc, holding her tears.
The old man lives nearby, he has seen everything. He is sad too, but he invites mama and Luc to his garden where he’s growing many little trees. He tells the child to choose one. He takes it to Luc’s garden, he plants it.
Luc will love it, but he will never forget the cold, lonely tree that he hugged that whole winter.