Although the quotation addresses loss (of life, of time), I wanted to include a sense of growth (or the memory of having grown) in the illustration. A tree stump still retains its roots; the position of the shadow hints at their presence.
Saint-Exupéry in a letter to X in 1940:
I believed this only happened to very old people, to find that they have lost every one of their friends along the way.
The whole of life has to be begun again.
Try to help me see the landscape, I beg of you. I’m in despair at being on the downward slope.
If you plant an oak, you will hope in vain to sit soon in its shade. For such is life.
We grow rich as we plant through the early years, but then come the years when time
undoes our work and cuts down our trees. One by one our comrades deprive us of their shade,
and within our mourning we always feel now the secret grief of growing old.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry / Wind, Sand and Stars (1939)