by Fred Maddox
Tracy was oblivious to the dozen or so people gathered around the frozen earth of the graveside. Or of Father James’ words as he conducted the burial service, his voice nothing more than a faraway drone. She stared vacantly at the solitary old oak tree, just beyond the moss covered dry stone wall which marked the ancient churchyard’s boundary. Its thick, gnarled trunk, scarred from the scores of lovers carving their undying love for each other into its weather beaten bark, giving testament to its decades of claiming that lone position as its own. Its bare misshapen branches creaked and groaned as the chilling north east wind whistled through them. What tales this mighty oak could tell, of the many christenings and weddings and funerals it had witnessed, and indeed, it would be more than likely this magnificent tree had witnessed all three services for the same person.