Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hugged by the Trees

Trees yawn and stretch tall in Spring
Tipping their hats to fleece clouds:
The forest brims with sound that no soul hears


On a sultry Summer's afternoon during our days in California we opted to venture into the garden of our rented house and practice our badminton skills. Spouse and I were merrily playing and for once we were getting a good deal of physical exercise. The shuttlecock flew back and forth between us like a tiny bewildered bird. And then Spouse or I, it is too hazy to recall whom, smashed the shuttlecock into the air.
It did not come down.
"I can see it!" cried Spouse after a time.
It was perched delicately on the branch of a tree about ten feet above our heads. We did not know what to do: we had been having a lot of fun and were not ready to trail back indoors just yet. Spouse threw the racquet with a great force into the tree in order to dislodge the shuttlecock. The racquet kissed the shuttlecock lightly and proceeded to sit beside it on the branch. What a peculiar coincidence: that did not come down either.
This time I took charge. I flung our remaining racquet into the air in order to knock the first racquet sideways which would then dislodge the shuttlecock.
It did not come down.
We were beginning to imagine that the tree was coated with a mysterious, super-strong glue: those last two items were very heavy and ought not to be sticking up there on the silky branch.
Spouse winced; we had seemingly lost two racquets and a shuttlecock and were at a loss as to our next move.
Then I espied the smooth, shiny handle of a discarded sweeping brush. It had no head and absolutely nothing to grip the tree with. I silently handed it to my Spouse and he aimed it, javelin-like, at the tree in order to dislodge the second racquet which would shake out the first racquet and then in turn push aside the shuttlecock so that we could continue what had been, until then, a very ordinary day.
It did not come down.

We have moved across the country since then and left the lofty trees of Northern California far behind us. We miss them with constant heavy hearts, for there is nothing quite like a tree in all the world and those that surround us now are scarcely comparable to the giants that towered protectively above our lives for so many years.
They took our shuttlecock, raquets and a polished pole: they did not give them back. Likewise, the tall trees still clutch our hearts in their timber limbs.

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