I should start by saying that I have a long history of getting attached to trees.
When I was five years old, I found a baby Douglas Fir in the park. Because it was approximately the same height and weight as me at the time (not anymore, THANK YOU VERY MUCH), I identified it as kin, insisted that its name was Amanda, and made my entire family pull over every time we passed by the park so we could go visit “Amanda Tree.”
As adorable as that sounds, that kind of shit moves out of the Republic of Cute and into the Territory of Weird pretty quickly as you grow up.
So, now, for the purposes of self-preservation, I keep my tree love secret.
This is my favourite tree:
I realize that it doesn’t look like much in this picture. And, my more perceptive readers will notice that this is not, in fact, one tree, but three.
But, when I first walked past this collection of trees, I did not see three medium-sized trees clumped together. I saw one glorious single tree standing on the edge of the ocean, and I loved it. The branches, the leaves, the way that they bent left, toward home. The way that you could see the water through the spaces in between. The sky.
But, it was only when I saw that there were three trunks attached to those branches and leaves and spaces in between, that Tree Love bloomed. A Tree Love unlike any other (except maybe the love shared between Amanda Tree and five year old RG).
Because, to me, the tree looked so singular and strong. So individual. But, there wasn’t one trunk behind that strength. There were three. And, beyond those three, there were roots dug deep into the earth, clinging to the dirt and to each other.
And that made me think about strength and where it comes from. How it doesn’t bloom from one source, but many. Experiences and influences and histories. Trunks and leaves and branches and roots that form one mighty, singular person.
And I thought about how each of us contains these complexities. How, behind every lit window in a building, there are people with trunks and leaves and branches and roots. Each of them “contain[ing] multitudes.”
That’s right, people. I found a metaphorical tree.
I didn’t give this tree a name, like Amanda. But, every time I walk past I look at it and smile.
That is me, I think. That is all of us.