I watched the man in the tree. Bringing back memories of so much of my youth spent hugging tree trunks and branches or twigs in the joy of the flight of squirrels. He was good, very good. A grown man, mature, strong and large, securing himself in harness and rope, easily moving through the tree. The Tree, who had become a threat by giving forth what it was born at the beginning of the Earth to give; beauty, shade, abundance!
Such abundance is prohibited in small slum-urban and slum-burban areas of man’s domiciles. The land already terra-formed into submission with little (or big) boxes and walls and roofs and floors and unimaginable accommodations inside. At least unimaginable for a wild child like me. I was 8 before seeing an indoor toilet. The artificial water flow frightened the wits out of me! Not half so frightening as the thought of a chamber pot whose contents couldn’t be properly disposed of! I still wonder if we’ve really gotten away with that.
In this little slum-burbia there are underground water pipes and sewer lines; cables and power lines with concrete driveways to keep cars out of the mud and dust and more concrete sidewalks with curbs on the street with more concrete wrapped closely around to the front and side doors to keep indoor floors clean, or ease of movement as we roll our carefully placed waste in bins onto the street to be anonymously removed by big noisy trucks and people who we may never see or think of. I think of them, I remember when we had little waste that came from anything other than old cars and cast iron kitchen ware or tools. Most of our waste was treated by lie or burned in a bonfire, all else was useful.
Nothing not man made is of use in these places. Even trees. Yet I watched him, the man in the tree, how easily and gracefully he moved in the branches, carefully manipulating his tool rope and himself in harness. How he, being the one who would deny the tree her bounty, her gift to us for a life we could not imagine, only buy, touched her gently, coaxing the permission to bring the loud power saw down one branch, then another, how he let the tree tell him which branches could be cut without devastation to her, at what height the cruel saw could cut in this slum-burbian “maintenance” ritual. Somehow, the tree and I knew that she would one day be cut down, no matter how well and beautifully she grew, no matter the abundance of her soft shade and fragrance. Like so many others up and down the manicured yet meager street, she too would be destroyed, disregarded with less consciousness than the garbage men. Not by me. I accepted her fate, living in her world and theirs, I knew this would give us more time together, even maimed and retarded she was beautiful!
It will be time soon for my little postage stamp yard to relinquish the right of its trees’ growth, and I really want the man who can talk to trees to help them, and me through…