Sometimes I Hug the Tree in My Garden


Shani C. '21

It’s crazy, I know, I might be losing it and yet to me it makes sense.

A tree is a product of the natural world, a world so magical and yet so changed by man’s touch. A world that has been perceived to be a servant to humanity’s needs. But trees breathed before us, their roots dig deeper than ours. As they grew we did too, into a race that abuses the natives. We consumed the earth with our creations, our junk that we deemed as necessities. The beauty of the earth wears a mask of our creation: the pollution, the trash, the war, the intolerance, the Hate. And the light that shines through the cracks is the remnant of a raw beauty before our greed. The shards of organic glory surround us and we don’t even look twice. And if we are making these huge promises to clean the oceans and clear the sky then we must find the rare cracks and hold onto them for dear life. Because everything that surrounds these truths is our creation, it’s our crap, and it’s not only clouding the sky but also our minds.

These rays of light reside in the simple joys of the world. Our friend’s smile, the white clouds as we zoom to school, or the wrinkles on our grandparent’s wise eyes.

We get so wrapped up in the future and the expectations of what artificial beauty is, we become obsessed with the trendy places, Hawaii is beautiful but what of the morning dew, or the way magical rainbows form on your wall late Sunday morning? This is the magic of the universe, the forces that stabilize the ever-changing world. Do you know that clouds move pretty fast in the blue sky and if you focus you can see them make their own journey? But you never see them move, for we are always moving faster.

 The natural beauty gets overshadowed by the invention and the search for something more. This innovation kills natural beauty and to save mother nature we first have to see her. We say “let’s save our earth.” But the world we live in does not belong to us, it is not ours, and we have not been good at sharing it. The idea of saving our earth – environmentalism – has become a TREND, a sentence stuck on to clothing tags to make you feel as if you are not contributing and endorsing the fast fashion industry, which you most definitely are when buying from any store at the mall.

It is not enough to use a hydro flask or a metal straw. We need to feel the dirt between our toes, understand the world we are fighting for. We don’t fight so that we can live another year creating Teslas or sweating over a textbook to get into an Ivy, we fight to see a ladybug land on our hands, and to see an elephant sleep under the sea of stars. We aim for the moon and we stretch to touch the sun, but do we bathe in the sun for something other than a tan? Is “golden hour” meant to stand in awe of the miraculous star that warms our soul, or is it the time for good lighting for our Instagram posts?

Sometimes shells on the sand are not meant to be collected and put around your neck, or the rainbow to be photographed. Maybe the art of the world is just meant to be loved not to be captured and saved. The world is not ours to use, it is not the clay that we can mold for our needs: the earth lives as we do, it breathes and it burns as we do. The Universe has power beyond our comprehension, forces unfathomable to even the smartest man and yet we consume and throw away as if these forces are the product of accommodation for us?  We speak about saving and undoing the damage but if it is still socially unacceptable to love a tree as a human how are we supposed to rewrite time and fix the mess we made? The world keeps on turning and changing and we must stay tethered to reality, to the constant: you can always trust a tree.

As we fight ourselves in the never-ending war for green we all must stay grounded in the natural, in the energy that dances below our feet.