Humans Are Like Apple Trees

February 28, 2009
By shifra BRONZE, Austin, Texas
shifra BRONZE, Austin, Texas
4 articles 0 photos 2 comments

If I was a child, I wouldn't think what I did today was bad. Indeed, I wouldn't have thought of it at all. You see, there is a long, narrow street I walk every day filled with people and silent, stray cats. A promenade down that lane is all that's needed to ensure against any and all social mistakes. People you'd think lovely, snarl over the barest scraps of space. Nothing is left sacred. Neither jobs, relationships, emotions, beliefs, habits, nor physical appearance. All is held up to the great, black idol Haste in an offering both terrible and trifling. Terrible because that small blunder could wreck the life of someone for eternity to come. But trifling because it's just one person after all. One man or woman in many millions.

And I was a child, when today I pranced down the street. Life for me existed on chalk-smeared sidewalks, under frothy-leaved trees, and peeking out between the rail-thin cracks of fences marching up and down the roadway. Every day I'd spring out from my parent's small, old apartment and greet the morning with a special smile. And the sun would shine back and tree leaves cut lace in the shadows around me. How fascinating that road was, with the tall, crammed buildings on both sides squishing out the sunlight. But I cared little for the pavement. More, I enjoyed the feel of warm, hardness beneath my bare toes because it represented so much more. Like the smell of Christmas cookies herald that wondrous day where everyone is encouraged to believe'or pretend to do so.

That's what growing up does to a person. Those good ol' life lessons in love. Viciously trimming the flower by lopping off the tender bud. Sure, gardeners advise it; say that the plant will grow all the taller because it doesn't have to dedicate strength to the baby flower. And so the knife descends and even people armed with natural empathy turn their heads aside for the greater good. And the bud, filled with the jewels of a million thoughts, is struck forever, and falls like a wishing star to the ground. And all the unformed, aborted ideas scatter on the wind, not even able to pollinate another plant. Dead forever as the gardener moves on to another plant.

Today my bud was lopped off. I skipped down the road, calm and confident in the strength of my limbs. The people poured past, but without blundering into me. I was surrounded by the bubble of youthful freshness and none dared invade.

'Until he came along.

Handsome beyond compare, a sharp-looking man of the world! I stared up to him overcome with infatuation. And dutiful Fate stuck out her hand. I tripped over a tree root and fell into his hurrying body. Suitcase smacked the ground! Man and I went tumbling. I smashed my knees hard, could feel my blood kissing the tarmac. But my affrighted eyes were on him. Wondering what would happen when his mammoth body heaved off the ground and the square-jawed face turned to mine. I prepared a giggle over the incident. Why, how could anybody accuse me? It was not my fault the tree root decided to defy nature and grow above ground.

He turned, and he looked at me. Pure disgust was in his gaze. And the knife descended.

Ten years down the road, or is it twenty, or thirty? Well, now the plants are tall and full. Perfect copies of each other, all beneficial citizens of the apple orchard. The gardener is terribly pleased, and washes his hands of dirt while surveying his doings. But all originality has been stomped out. The trees are great and good, but they are sterile. No love flows along the pesticide-coated branches. Life and knife has taken care of any blossoming with cruel demands. And now flowers cover those young trees, thousands, nay, millions! Pink, baby-eyed, they smile sweetly at the cold earth below and their clones all around. They look just like the first, precious flower so rudely hacked away. But these are smaller, duller, and lack a sense of spirituality that poets sing of.

He angrily rose above me, his eyebrows bent in fury.

'Stupid kid!' He spat. A snatching arm hooked his briefcase, and then he was gone. Buffeting aside the milling crowd, anger accentuating every movement I adored. And me, little me with the pony-tailed hair, sat on the pavement and watched the people eat him up till nothing but darkness remained.

As John Keats once bravely said in his poem 'Ode on a Grecian Urn', 'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,'that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.' That day I learnt the truth of life, and in that knowledge, my dreams were trimmed. True, I am flourishing and alive now, earning sweet rewards from the fruits of my labors'But my life is nothing. That quick, innocent love was ripped apart on the pavement, its blood flowing down my knees. And though I can love many people now'still I cannot reach back to that first passion. Time and again, I have tried. But it is gone forever. And I can never get it back.

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This article has 1 comment.

Vic_Reyes said...
on Apr. 14 2009 at 2:29 am
Vic_Reyes, Austin, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Wow. I like it. It is very intense (to me) and emotion filled. I feel bad for your lost passion, but I don't remember much of when I was younger.

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