The chaparral ugly as sin. Scratch hills, undergrowth, roots falling down cliffs, into the ebb flow stream – some trees almost airborne — knifing the air.
I, say, gimme the dirt, gimme the trees.
Some trees, half planted, half not. Tree beast, they claw the sky. The freak of nature trees with hallowed out trunks. One tree, a mean protester over there minds an old offense still underway. Another in the throes of surprise death — black as Stonehenge. Some trees I do not approach. I do not want to know what killed beauty.
And, what about the old oak tree growing behind the green house next door. The tree grows through a granite boulder the size of Jupiter. A big black scar on one side of the tree caused by a potted staghorn fern a prior owner hung for pretty’s sake — the water system withering the bark for years. Eleven years forward, the tree, mends like a zippered scuba suit on its way to good health.
Crazy old tree I’ve got to run my hand over now and then. To marvel at it — at the massive base, wonder how it still stands.
Nearby, a monument of tree. A seven-hundred-year old beaut that sold us on buying our house. A grand dame of a tree, a giantess, goddess tree. Her dark trunk playing “tip the cow” with our house, limbs stretching over our roofline and drive, the span of which, a baseball diamond, holds up the patch of sky over the place.
This tree matriarch making no secret how she hates our sprawling house. Each of her ten trunks possess the girth of a well-fed carnival strongman, pulling at the house’s foundation and insides. The charm of which the rooms a fun house slant in those rooms built around the tree over the last century. Doorways unsquared, now complete with pass-through letterbox openings at their tops where door meets frame. Hairline fissures crumbling plaster avenues where the frames meet walls. The sock drawer sock sliding open all night and day makes for easier grab despite my husband’s country fixes at leveling furniture, sanding the cupboards. For now at least we know in which corner to pick up our young son’s wheel toys.
This mature oak, majestic, could land us dead when it decides its time’s up. And, me being Irish, long a believer in things invisible have taken the Hippocratic (Tree) Oath. The “First Do No Harm to Trees” one, having gone so far as to have every passerbys kiss, hug, and climb this tree. Earning, yielding us all fair measure of wee folk-channeled earthen blessings.
A full throttle treehug’s best. What’s good for the soil, good for the soul. Man, some days, beauty can be such a distraction.