It is Saturday so I’m writing though I know that in my time, my back home time, it is still Friday. Nevertheless, it is Saturday here. Here is Fiji. Here is Taveuni. Here is clear blue waters, massive clouds in more massive skies and, at this moment, a 40 mph howling wind. The palm trees bend into the wind as their fronds are pushed in the opposite direction. There’s a defiance in those palms.
It makes me think of the tree I cut down. It was a massive eucalyptus tree. I learned that it had been planted before there were houses on the block, before my house had been built. Then there were just three houses and the owner of one decided to plant trees. His trees lived longer than he did. I didn’t think much about the trees that grew up along the sides of my house whose branches spread out and shaded the roof. I didn’t think about the eucalyptus or the birch tree entwined into or the other eucalyptus next to the birch until someone pointed out to me how large and old and ready to collapse it was. Then I could think of nothing but that tree and how, if it fell, it could crush my house.
I had an arborist inspect the tree. He said it need to come down. Reluctantly I arranged for it to be removed, branch by branch. It took four men three days. They asked me if I wanted to spend extra to have the roots removed. I did not. Thus, where a 67’ tree once stood there was a stump about three feet in diameter. I missed the tree as the house heated up under the suns unfiltered rays. I missed the tree as the wind blew and nothing rustled.
I was clearing out my pantry and refrigerator in preparation for the Fiji trip. I bagged the perishable items, a half gallon of 1% milk, a package of crackers and a block of extra sharp cheddar cheese to offer them to my neighbor (see “Your Child Is A Brat” from last year). She greeted me and we engaged is small talk. I commented how much hotter the house was without the tree. She pointed to where the stub lay and asked me if I’d looked at it. When I admitted that I hadn’t, she walked me around the short bamboo fence that separated her driveway from my house and pointed. There, where the tree had stood was a stump engulfed in green leaves. The tree was growing! Every bit of it had been cut away yet it grew. Just like the palms in Fiji, there’s a defiance in that eucalyptus!
P.S. No pictures now but when I’m back with good internet – I’ll update this with images.