The willow grew near the brook, and the girl had often climbed its branches in her youth to gaze into the cool clear water. Despite her father’s prohibitions, she found her only solace in its branches. The constraints of rank and privilege had always weighed heavy on her young shoulders: she often spoke to the tree and confided her deepest thoughts to its silent branches.
When she grew older and her father died, she fled once more to the willow’s embrace. She felt her father’s presence there – scolding her even as she searched the waters for a peace she no longer possessed. The branch she perched upon broke, giving beneath her and falling into the crystal blue water.
She knew she should swim. Instead, she opened her arms wide – her tresses a golden halo, her dress spread like angel wings. The water caressed and carried her, and while it bore her up she sang snatches of old tunes. When the weight of her clothing pulled her down, the songs of her childhood ceased – along with dreams and guilt.
The tree, ever her friend, had provided her escape.