June 16, 2009
I had a dream several weeks ago and parts of it keep popping up while I’m awake over and over. Mostly it’s one particular image, which leads me to think of other things. In the dream, Zach was dead and the funeral and everything was over, but his body was lost. The whole thing was kind of like a CSI setup where one clue led to another to another until we finally found him.
He was wedged in a tree between the trunk and a large branch. I really like trees and this tree was my favorite tree. He was really stuck in there. Some guy standing next to me (I never actually saw him) said that we were going to have to cut the branch or maybe even cut whole tree down to get Zach out. I thought that would make the whole clump of trees where this tree was located look odd. Zach’s body was leaning on a large branch that led to a cluster of smaller branches that made up about 1/3 of the whole tree facing the front. Suddenly when I looked at the tree again, the whole section he was leaning on was dead. I wondered if there was a way to cut that section out without mangling Zach and I just couldn’t figure it out.
In the dream I was frustrated over not knowing whether or not to cut the dead section out. I imagined what the tree would look like without it and it would look very odd and sad. I didn’t even know if the tree could survive with one third of itself missing like that. I imagined the whole tree gone and it looked even worse.
The image of that tree with Zach and the dead section keeps coming back to me. Almost every time when I go to Trinity Lutheran Church/School, I look over at a certain tree next to the parking lot. Last fall, I took a picture of it before it lost its leaves. I wanted to try and draw it. I don’t know why I’ve been drawn to it so much, kind of strange. One day (after this dream) when I got out of the car I looked over and saw that the tree is missing several large branches and sections. It just doesn’t look right anymore. It looks wounded. Its trunk still stands tall and the leaves on the remaining branches still reach out for nourishment, but it just isn’t right.
At times I feel angry because I don’t understand why the branches were cut. I think, “Why did they have to deprive the tree of its needs? How is it supposed to survive without its branches, without reaching out for what it needs? How can people be so cruel?” In the middle of the night one night when I couldn’t sleep, I actually cried about it. I know that pruning trees is sometimes necessary and it can promote new growth, which can be healthy for the tree. Admittedly, I don’t know much about tree health. I’m just reacting (actually over-reacting – it is, after all only a tree) to the whole situation emotionally. I’m angry and sad every time I look at the tree at the edge of the parking lot. I want it to be the way it was. It never will be the way it was. It’s all different now. It’s ugly and is just part of itself now, it will never be whole again. Nature may cover its wounds. The white, raw ovals on the trunk of the tree will darken in time, but there will always be scars. The scars may be hidden by superficial sprouting of leaves near the spot where the branches used to be. But, the tree is forever changed and I don’t like it.
I’m angry that the city cut major branches off of all of the trees lining my street. Again, it seems cruel to deprive them of what they need. Those who are suppose to be responsible for the trees are cruelly depriving them of what they need – in fact severing the ability of the trees to get all of their needs met. The trees on my street are small, like children. The tree at Trinity is like an adult, once standing tall and proud, now flimsy and uncertain.