“Little Tree, I must go. Like you feel the trees, feel for us when you are listening. We will wait for you. Next time will be better. All is well. Granma."
- “The Education of Little Tree” written by Forrest Carter
The grandmother names the boy 'Little Tree.’ In American novelist Forest Carter's autobiographical coming-of-age novel, Little Tree learns the importance of love, sadness, and hope while living with his grandmother, grandfather, and several dogs of the Cherokee Indian tribe.
During my childhood, poverty was a constant presence. I remember my cat Myomyo, which I kept in the attic without my father's knowledge, and my grandmother. Even now, it is strange and sad to think about how the things that were once a part of my life are no longer with me. When I close my eyes, I can vividly recall memories of those things that are no longer present, and it makes me feel small and weak in the world.
In a recently-published book, I wrote about the meaning of love, stating, "If you write love with your fingertips, it will be filled with sadness." When I close my eyes, I am transported to a scene from a black-and-white movie that can never be retaken. I see my young mother cooking in the kitchen, my father sleeping on the sofa, and a cat's footprints following me as I leave home with my grandmother. It’s snowing outside, and the branches of cherry trees that have not yet bloomed glisten with ice. Our eyes tear up as we pick up icicles and hold them in our hands.
Love is the thing that ultimately makes us cry, and it is the meaning of life. A part of me still lives in the memory, and as long as I am alive, the sorrow does not fade. Before I call sadness for what it is, I keep thinking about the loving memories, so I pour out my heart in letters written at dawn.