life between the pages

“I spent my life folded between the pages of books.
In the absence of human relationships I formed bonds with paper characters. I lived love and loss through stories threaded in history; I experienced adolescence by association. My world is one interwoven web of words, stringing limb to limb, bone to sinew, thoughts and images all together. I am a being comprised of letters, a character created by sentences, a figment of imagination formed through fiction.”
Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me

Sunday, December 31, 2006

checking on an old friend

My husband has an interesting habit of falling in love with trees. More than once he has phoned me to say, "Sorry, honey, you're being replaced. I've found the love of my life. Her name is Lucille (Martha, Diana et al). She's a fifty-foot tall Loblolly (Live Oak, Water Chestnut..). You get the picture.
Here is what he said when I showed him this:
"I have to see that Tree." (Click on the link to see the full view and then zoom in under the trunk. Those are people. One lady has a dog on a leash).

Yeah, he does. I miss Alabama. The Tree (note capitalization, no other name needed) is, depending upon what report you read, over 350 - 450 years old, perhaps older. It is the size of your average strip-mall shopping center, and vastly to be preferred in company. Here is what I wrote about it in my journal, c. 1986:

"I remember when I first met the Tree. is one of the lasting friendships I have made in [Alabama] that I will never forsake.I remember being amazed at its girth. I had never seen, had never imagined a living thing so huge, stretching upwards to heaven, it seemed. I had the almost uncontrollable urge to climb it --to scamper up into its vastness like a child. On one side a great old branch leans down almost to the ground, like a cradle, the ends fanning out with lush foliage. The bark on this natural perch is rubbed smooth by innumerable humans who have seated themselves in this most perfect swing in the world and rocked gently. I think we need reminders like this on earth of the greatness of all creation that literally point the way to humility in ways that even the densest and most jaded among us cannot miss. It speaks of His love for us, that He plants signs here in His garden that are so strong that careworn adults feel safe in their presence."

It eventually made its way into a work in progress. I had to check and find out if it was still alive, still there, nearly twenty years later. It is. How life-affirming, how wonderful.