Cherries on the Oak Tree
by Amanda Grice
I remember that day as if it were yesterday. It was a warm day of early May as I rested my back upon the large rock outside my family’s little cottage. My long hair was blowing in the wind as I pulled the wool sweater my mother had knitted tightly around me, as if though I was giving it a big hug. My feet bathed in the sun and were hidden behind the tall grass. I loved days like this, days where you could just relax and do whatever you please. It was then that I heard the most beautiful voice I had ever heard and I turned to my left and stared up at the tree. There it was, a bright red hummingbird, singing in the large oak. I smiled at it and to my surprise it looked like it might have given me the slightest smile back.
The next day I brought a book out to the large rock and sat there reading in yet another beautiful day. Not even ten minutes had passed and I heard the curious singing from the tree. I peered over to the large oak and upon it sat the red hummingbird singing away as if it had no care in the world. I laughed with it and then hurried inside to the cottage. I pleaded to my parents if I could build a birdhouse so the red hummingbird would have a place to find food. My father and I built one that day. I passed the smooth wood to my father as he assembled the birdhouse. We put it on that large oak tree late that afternoon and I really hoped I would get to see the hummingbird again.
The following morning it rained. I looked at the dreary rain and felt sorrow. Was my red hummingbird alright? The next morning, however, it was sunny and I raced outside and waited for the hummingbird. It came along shortly and I cried, “I was worried about you, Cherry!” I didn’t realize what I had just said but I thought to myself that I had just found a name for the red hummingbird. Cherry, I thought, hmm, I like it.
Cherry came back every morning. I would bring my book out to the large rock and patiently wait to hear her beautiful call. I would see her feeding at the birdhouse I made with my father. It was one sunny day in September when I didn't see her. Then I waited for a couple days and she didn`t return. I wondered hopelessly if she was cold or lost or frightened. Then my father told me something I didn`t know: Cherry had probably just flew south for winter, after all, it was getting colder. I believed my father and waited all winter.
Every May after that, I saw Cherry come back to the oak tree. I smiled at her at her every time. Every September Cherry departed the oak tree and I waved goodbye to her as she flew away. It was one May day, three years later than the first time I had seen Cherry, that she did not return and not come back to the oak tree. She no longer came and I no longer heard her call. I asked my father a week later: where was Cherry? Was she alright? My father then sat me down and told me something much harder than I had ever heard: hummingbirds don`t live much longer than three years. I cried to myself for so long and I didn`t go back out to the rock for a while. It was one June day when I did. There I heard a peculiar call coming from the oak tree. I turned to it and saw a hummingbird perched upon a branch. I smiled. Even though this bird was not Cherry, it reminded me of her. You see, I realized that Cherry would be in a better place. I realized that everything would be alright. I stared at the hummingbird and its beautiful colors and whispered, “Cherry“.