I only mention the tree because I feel a bit like it now—bent, not in an unpleasant place but perhaps not growing quite as I should be. And I think of the tree because I’m pretty sure I never got over that longing to float away.
I wonder if it’s there still.
I think it may have died.
In the winter it would sometimes be covered with snow, and then it was a sight to behold. An odd cupped palm of flawless white. And the river beyond, steely grey, soundless and still.
I want this place like it’s something I’m thirsty for, but some places only exist now as ghosts of their former selves. Walk the parking lot knowing there used to be a building here. Look out over the lake realizing this wasn’t always water. And in the garden, it’s hard to know what I would find. Have the new owners taken care of it? Have they put in new flowers, herbs perhaps? Do they know the secret patches of sunlight even in the shady corners, and if so have they put them to good use?
There’s always the chance that everything has fallen into disrepair, that it’s a wild and bedraggled kingdom now, a place of weeds and thorns. Somehow I am okay with that. Somehow that seems almost fitting. I would rather it be brambles and ruins than flattened and paved over, filled in with a new swimming pool or guest house.
Why is it the sky seems nearly purple now? In the city lights always hold the dark at a distance. In a city I feel dwarfed, but not often in awe.
I miss that tree, and the river, and the promise. I miss most of all believing in things.
(There is no garden, no tree, no river. There never was. I am sitting in a room at a computer telling lies.)
I want to believe in something.
I’ll believe in that tree.
No, that's a cop out.
I don't want to believe in the tree, because I already believe in the tree, because I wrote about it so I know it's true, if only in my head.
I want to believe in something, but what I really want to believe in is people. I want to believe that people can be good and kind and decent. That they can be brave and true. And when things happen like what happened in my home state today, I have trouble believing that. I begin to think that we are irredeemable, that the world will always be ugly and small.
This is a lie. Part of me knows that.
The other part of me just wants to cry.