Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Palo Verde - A true Story

It was one of the few really huggable trees that grow here in the desert country of Arizona. After all, one cannot hug a cactus. This tree, a Palo Verde, was just around the corner from where I live in this community of sorts. I passed it often and it beckoned, but I never did stop and hug it like I wanted to—I was afraid, you see, of what the neighbors might think and the fact that tree huggers are not very well thought of around here. Besides this particular tree was not very well thought of—it was in the eyes of many a dirty tree because it did what came naturally to it—it shed and messed up the neatly raked gravel. That’s what we have here, gravel. So much easier to take care of than grass, that’s what they say anyway.

But back to the only huggable tree—the tree that called to me whenever I passed by. The desert monsoon season came around as it usually does in July or August and one night a big wind—gusts of sixty miles per hour, they said. And when I walked around the corner the next morning, my tree, the only huggable tree in this community lay across the road—it had fallen during the night.

Too late now for hugs, I stood in the drizzling rain and looked at my tree lying there. It’s foliage seemed greener than ever as if it was celebrating its own life. I felt I had let it down, and for what—because I was afraid that others might think that this old woman was a little daft in the head, hugging trees like that. I went home and got my camera and though I never got a picture of it while it was standing, I would at least have a picture of its last moments. and I would remember it lying there … its foliage sparkling as if gifting me with something. Even though I never shared my hugs with this particular tree, I am a tree hugger and I believe in the power of trees and I’m open to their wisdom. I truly believe that this tree was leaving me with the message that I must never put off sharing love and hugs because one day it may be too late. It told me, too, that I must always be myself and forget about the unseen eyes of those who may not always agree with my philosophy on life. I regret that although I befriended this particular tree in my mind, I failed to reach out to it in the way that I wanted to and should have.

While I stood there photographing my fallen friend, the Tree People came by with their saws and chipper. I turned my back and walked away with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. Even from my house and for the next hour or so, I could hear the buzz of the chipper. It was a dreadful sound, but I tried to think beyond it to the tree that was my friend. The space around the corner is so empty now though I have the feeling that the tree’s spirit remains.

Vi Jones
©September 10, 2006

3 Comments:

At 9:29 PM, Blogger Heather Blakey said...

So many of us have an affinity with trees. You have reminded me to go out and give my birches a hug. I have forgotten to do so lately.

 
At 1:32 AM, Blogger Imogen Crest said...

This story reminded me of a similar one, and once this happened, there were many more. Now I have a collection of things from trees, a chunk of Plane Tree Trunk after it part fell during a storm. They're powerful. Once you start, there is no stopping, Vi. And I have discreetly hugged many a tree, and don't care what people think. I mean, soon everyone will be doing it anyway. All the kids are taught to do it. You might make the craze catch on. Loved the image, it really showed the green glowing. Life is an adventure.

Heather, this is so great, hugging the silver birches. Too cool.

 
At 6:31 AM, Blogger faucon of Sakin'el said...

Oh, how many friends have fallen
that we forgot to hug in time?

 

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