A boy once received a red bicycle from his mom. He wasn't too pleased with it because it was quite uncomfortable to ride. As the story goes, the boy was playing in the woods one afternoon and left the bike sitting up against a tree. As the afternoon drew to a close, he went home completely forgetting about his bike he left leaning against the tree.
But this isn't a story about the boy, although he would eventually reunite with his bike five decades later. This is a story about a bike leaning against a tree. At a glance, an oddball combination of juxtaposed metal and wood sit beside each other, left to weather out the storms along with the quiet, pleasant days. The tree, with its roots firmly in the ground, grows and matures season by season. Its' bark is rough and doesn't bend much, even under immense pressure from the elements. Sometimes, the tree proves to be unshakable, as if nothing were to sway it against its will; yet, the simplest of things, like heavy winds or snow, threatened to break its branches year after year. The tree stood firm through all of this, without argument, without questioning what was to happen next. The tree just was a tree.
The bike leaned up against the tree for as long as it could. The wheels made of metal and rubber, the seat small and firm. The bike, a beautiful example of human ingenuity, was not used to the forest environment, nor staying put for so long. Its freedom, although once dependent on the boy, was what it had known. Traveling the countryside alongside an adventurous companion, feeling the elation of being somebody's momentary everything, only to be left feeling hurt and lonely when it realized the boy, whom it did everything it could possibly do for, left it behind and forgot about it. After all, there are other bikes just as beautiful and willing to accommodate such an adventurous boy.
So there, together, the tree and the bike sat. Year after year, they both endured the rain, the snow, the wind, the sunshine. For the first couple years the bike leaned up against the tree. It had no choice but to. The tree, ridged in its ways, provided shelter from the weather and something to lean on during the roughest of storms. And as years passed and time grew on, together they stayed, the tree and the bike.
As the tree grew stronger and more confident, it decided to pick up the bike, embracing it as it was. Not asking it to change into something it was not. The bike had to just bend a little, as the tree had to affix itself around an otherwise inflexible object. However, the bond between the tree and the bike could never be stronger. Each had to make sacrifices to live with one-another in the most unlikely of scenarios. Both the tree and the bike had to learn to cope with one another in a precarious predicament, endure each other, and learn to live in harmony.
Then one day, the boy, old and gray, returned to the site where he had left his bike. Although, when he returned, he had realized that he had been completely forgotten. The boy was able to recognize his bike right away. He couldn't be more saddened by what he saw. The bike was held up firmly by the tree. The tree, big and tall was happily embracing the bike. The bike, faded and old, yet still a beautiful example of human ingenuity, couldn't be more comfortable nestled snugly in the tight grasp of the tree. The boy realized the only way to take the bike back was to cut down the tree, an endeavor not worth his time. Alas, the bike wasn't the same and wouldn't be able to carry the boy's burdens down any path of his bidding, even if the bike still wanted to.
Like I said before, this story wasn't about the boy at all. Nor was it really about a tree or a bike. Although very true, this story was actually about love. And this story is about the closest metaphor you can get to true love.
You see, the tree will always be a tree, and the bike will always be a bike. They were put together in the most unpredictable of circumstances. Yet, here they still are: together. Together they defied probabilities, endured the hard times, braved the elements, stuck it through in the complexities of life, and will inevitably outlive those who left them behind. That, my friend, is the definition of true love!