November 29, 2005
Boy and Tree
When my son Shaggy Hair Boy was little, he went to my sister's house three mornings each week while I was teaching my classes. He and Blonde Niece were born only a few weeks apart, and spending so much childhood time together made the two cousins inseparable. Now at the age of fourteen, they still spend every weekend together and they sit at the same lunch table at school.
One time about ten years ago, Shaggy Hair and Blonde Niece were eating an orange at my sister's house, and she suggested that they plant the seeds into a couple of pots of earth. A few years later, she lugged a three-foot orange tree out to my car and said, "I think it's time for you to take Shaggy Hair’s orange tree home now."
We've had the orange tree in our living room ever since. I need to prune the top of it because the branches scrape against the ceiling. Since the tree needs a south window, it ends up taking the spot next to Boy in Black's set of drums, across from the piano. Blonde Niece's matching tree died just last year, catching some kind of weird disease when they moved from one house to the other but she spends most weekends at my house now, and often sleeps in a sleeping bag under the tree at night.
Every once in a while, often when we are having company over and we realize how little furniture we have -- or when we are trying to figure out how to fit a Christmas tree into the house -- Spouse will ask, "Do we have to have a tree in our living room?" But the tree is a living part of our community, planted by the loving hands of Shaggy Boy during his happy childhood days playing at Blonde Niece's house. Besides, on cold winter days, I like to watch the orange tree absorbing all the sunlight pouring in the south window. If I lie next to it on the floor, moving into a sunny patch, I can pretend that I am living in a warmer climate.
Posted by jo(e)