How does one define the worth of another? A human? An animal? A tree? Perhaps they are defined by the satisfication of our waking desires.
I want fresh air. I want open space. I want shade on a sunny day. I want to jump from your branches into a pile of leaves. I want a trunk to lean against, where I can read a book. I want evidence that winter is coming. I want to see new life in April. I want to watch squirrels bury their nuts in your soil. I want a beautiful landscape to watercolor. I want an ecosystem for insects that would be squashed anywhere else. I want to hear the rustling of leaves. I want to decorate you with twinkling lights when the holidays are coming. I want to know when the rains are coming by seeing those leaves flipped around. I want to water you when the summer has been hot and rainless. I want to press your leaves in a book and keep them for years to come. I want to have my friends admire you as they walk by.
I don’t want you to die. I don’t want you to smell like cheese like the other tree closer to the walkway. I don’t want you to yearn for water. I don’t want you to be naked during the cold winter months. I don’t want anyone to cut you down. I don’t want you to become a canoe, a house, or a whiskey barrel. I don’t want you to be forgotten. I don’t want you to get Armillaria root rot and I definitely don’t want you to get a fungal canker either.
I want you to grow. I don’t want you to be cut down. I want you to provide the happiness and comfort that you provided me this semester to another. Student or not, your presence is a present and adored by all.