26 March 2007

Trees like me

Trees like me. They always did, since way back in my little girlness. I could just feel it. When we lived in the country in North Carolina I had a favorite front yard tree, a great oak with roots spread out sturdily beneath it. My mom—or more likely The Ancestor—had encircled it with large rocks and planted flowers at its base. I tell you I played games with that tree. What I loved to do best was to go outside when the grass was still dewy, carefully stretch across the fragrant mote of hyacinth and daffodil, then balance on the heavy stakes of that old oak. I stepped from root to root, like they were stones in a stream; I was anxious never to let my feet touch the earth. Around and around I went till both the tree and I were fairly dizzy and then I'd sit on its welcoming lap, in a rooty embrace, examining ants and other small crawlers, poking a twig into doodlebug holes or digging dirt, picking an occasional posey (stem too short) for a teacher, waiting nervously for my yellow schoolbus. That oak was always such a comforting, approving friend. How can you explain a relationship with a tree?

I've got a list in my mind of other trees I've adored in different times and places: my swing tree; the tree in the field behind our house, the one that held my kite after my dad and I got it into the air (how I hated to cross the narrow, rickety footbridge set precariously over dirty water—a damnable ditch filled with water mocassins, snapping turtles, and crawdads, all waiting hungrily to take a bite of me, oh, I just knew it—but it was the only way over doom); a park tree I used to hide in high up so I could watch people; the magical, fragrant mimosa Neal Smith pushed me out of once (it made no sense to me at all when my mom told me that was a sure sign he liked me); an aspen at the top of the Alpine Loop, bearing the adolescently misguided monogram of idiot sweethearts (and later I would have cut that tree down in a fit of jilted fury if only I'd been able to find it again); a tree of a quiet beginning at Bridal Veil Falls; the figs of my heart; the incredible tree with vast branches held up by steel supports, like some aboreal Moses, behind the Provo municipal complex.

My list could go on and on.

Tonight, I found some more wooden friends. Driving home a low-traffic back road, Rob and I came to a corner with a 4-way stop and two large trees—cottonwoods, I think—on the very edge of an old rural neighborhood, and they were throwing their catkins hard into the street. Sure, there was some wind blowing, but I tell you, these trees were enjoying pitching their strings of strange flowers with their own strong arms. It looked like a wonderful game, sheer fun, this making a defiant mess of the corner—bah! and phhllbt! to encroaching subdivisions. I asked Rob to stop the car and we watched this play for a while. The heater was on and I had my window open. After some moments, a single catkin whanged in and whapped me in the lap. I felt happy, included in the game. (Rob, on the other hand, started up a sneeze almighty session, so we had to head for home.)


J'oga said...

I saw the tree behind the municipal buildings for the first time a few weeks back on one of my walks. I took some pictures and was going to blog about it, but I forgot. Perhaps I will do that right now :)

It's amazing how nature seems to talk sometimes

Geo said...

Hey, hey, we should meet there for lunch sometime. Want to?

compulsive writer said...

I know some of those trees of whom you speak.

I love trees too.

Please come meet my flowering plums in about a week. And I'll give you some cuttings of my honeysuckle.

Geo said...

C-dub, you will forevermore be connected to honeysuckle in my mind. I'd love some cuttings! Just say the word when the plum trees pop.

I'm still interested in a lake walk too—just us or perhaps with others as well? Yes to both.

Elizabeth said...

I liked this post. Your whole discussion of them "playing" in the wind reminded me of the trees in "Lord of the Rings." Forgive me for the movie connection, but it just got me thinking of trees as people, or rather, as LIVING things. Not that the movie correlation really counts. Of COURSE they're living things (duh!). And I love them, too. One of my favorite things to do as a little girl was to go outside on the front lawn in the late afternoon/early evening light, lie on my back, and watch the trees. I still love to do that. There is something so peaceful and so commanding about them.

Amy said...

Oh, how I miss trees. And you.

Becca said...

i love these images--of you playing with your childhood tree and the recent playful dispersement of seeds. thanks for sharing!
i'm curious about the other blog entries too, interesting teasers. i've had some blogging thoughts lately but no time. glad i can enjoy yours.

Geo said...

'lizabet': I love to do that too. And you know what else I love? I love how after it rains at a certain time of the year there are some trees around town that show off spring frog green foliage against nearly black bark. That sends me into yipping hallelujahs.

amy: We've got more trees than Boston? Are you serious? Come home! I miss you more!

becca: I finally decided that writing (i.e., blogging)was something that needed to fall under the heading of "self-care." And I am trying hard to reintroduce healthy stuff and an attempt at balance back into the ol' schedule.

Wish you could just aim your blogging thoughts at me and I could read them without your having to expend the energy it takes to write them.