“Our chestnut tree is in full blossom. It is covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year...” - Anne Frank, 13 May 1944
Not even a year ago I blogged about how sad I was that this tree, whose trunk was rotted out from fungus and a moth infestation was given a 5-15 year life expectancy. I remember thinking that it would likely be gone well before my 50th year. I woke up this morning, barley two weeks past my 40th Birthday to find that it had fallen during a storm with high winds. So sad.
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I would sit and watch the leaves of this tree blow in the breeze on a live webcam when I was up at all hours of the night in my pregnancy induced insomnia. I did it with Owen and again with River. The tree was already special to me but this made it more so. In 2008, before I was even pregnant with River, I found this website and placed a leaf for Owen and myself. I went there again this morning and placed one for River. It's an interactive Monument and explains why the tree is so important. It's a nice website and people from all over the world have placed leaves. It's nice to see that some people understand that it isn't just a tree.
The quote I posted above from Anne Frank's diary was from May 1944. She and everyone else in the Annex were discovered on August 4th and it is believed she died from Typhoid a few days after her sister in early March of 1944 at 15, believing both her parents to be dead. Now I'm not saying I haven't been through things in my life because I have but I can't imagine going through anything even close to this, and at 15!
I, like most people have been asked if I could meet anyone in history who would I want to meet and I think Anne Frank tops my list but I would like to have met her had the survived Bergen Belson. I wonder if at that age when you see those things is it possible to still believe that people are basically good? Because I just can't see it. How you leave your mother in Auschwitz to starve to death and watch your sister die in front of you and then go on to lead a productive life is beyond me. Clearly it can be done, I just don't understand how.
It wasn't just a tree.