My Tree

The tree outside my home seems a little stronger this year- a little fuller, healthier, more sure of itself than last year. I love that tree.

I remember when the landscapers came to plant it, two years ago. They carelessly dug a hole in the ground, severing the sprinkler line that was to feed the young tree. After it was clumsily planted and tethered, the tree stood in front of my studio for the next three weeks before I realized that it wasn’t getting any water. I called to get the problem fixed and was half hoping they would remove it altogether and replace it with a new, healthy one. Knowing it would take even more time for them to replace the sprinkler, I watered the tree when I could, hoping to keep it alive. As I expected, the landscape company simply replaced the sprinkler, leaving me with my new, weak tree that tentatively stood between two healthier trees of my neighbors.

The summer quickly passed, as it always does, and turned to winter and then spring. The other trees blossomed as mine was slow to recover from the winter. I wondered if it was dead or not, but hoped for the best as I seemed to be developing a stronger emotional attachment to it as time marched on. About a month and a half after the other trees had grown their healthy green leaves, my tree finally started to blossom with significantly less drama. Half of its leaves were withered and mangled while the other half hardly constituted enough volume to make for shade below.

Around that time, I planted my flowers for the summer and began watering them with plant food; I decided to try to nourish my tree as well. I have heard that plants thrive off positive communication; if you talk to your plants, they will respond. I began to feed my tree once a week and in between those times, I would go out and talk to it, offering encouragement and love whenever I could. As the summer progressed, my tree seemed to be on the road to recovery, but I felt the following year would really be the true test.

When spring came again this year, the other trees blossomed earlier than mine, as they had done last year. The difference this year is the leaves are nice and healthy, giving me shade as a reward for the time I’ve put into it. The tree is special to me, not only because of this, but because it is a metaphor for my life these past two years. Now that I am emerging from the uncertainty of whether or not I will be able to make it as a full-time artist, I can begin to enjoy its shade as we both grow a little stronger… a little more sure of ourselves.